Teaching your children proper oral hygiene habits means they’ll be more likely to adopt good habits for life. But when it comes to brushing, flossing, and other dental care topics, are you confident that your kids are getting all the information they need?
It’s important for parents and caregivers to teach children the basics of dental hygiene while they’re young in order to promote good dental health and prevent tooth decay. There are plenty of fun activities and methods you can use to get kids excited about brushing their teeth on a regular basis.
In this article, we will discuss why it is important for children to brush their teeth correctly, when they should do this, and how often they should brush. With all the tips and strategies provided here, you’ll be able to help your child form positive habits toward good oral health that will last a lifetime!
The Importance of Good Pediatric Dental Health
Ensuring good pediatric dental health is extremely important for children as it lays the foundation for healthy teeth and gums throughout adulthood. Good dental hygiene habits such as proper brushing, flossing, mouth washing, and utilizing sealants can help ensure that children start off on the right track with their oral health.
Regular checkups and preventive treatments can also reduce the chances of cavities or gum disease when their adult teeth grow in, so be sure to schedule your child’s first dental visit around their first birthday.
When to Start Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
It is recommended that parents begin cleaning their baby’s gums even before their baby teeth come in. Once their toddler teeth begin to appear, you should begin brushing their teeth for them twice a day – once in the morning and before bedtime – with a soft-bristled brush and only a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste.
As your child gets older and more independent, they can start caring for their teeth on their own, with your supervision. You should continue to supervise your child’s tooth brushing until they learn to brush properly on their own.
Infant Oral Care
Here are some steps to care for an infant’s mouth and gums before their teeth come in:
- Clean the mouth after feedings. After each feeding, use a soft, damp cloth or an infant toothbrush to gently wipe your baby’s gums and tongue. This will help remove any leftover milk or formula and prevent bacteria from growing.
- Use a gum massager. A gum massager is a small rubber device designed specifically for infants. You can use it to gently massage your baby’s gums to soothe any teething discomfort and help stimulate the growth of their permanent teeth.
- Watch for signs of teething. As your baby’s teeth start to come in, you may notice that they drool more and may be irritable. This is normal and can be relieved by providing a cool teething toy or a chilled cloth for them to bite on.
- Visit the dentist. Take your baby to the dentist for their first appointment around their first birthday or when their first tooth comes in. This will help establish a relationship with the dentist and ensure your baby’s oral health is on track.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your baby’s mouth and gums are healthy and well-cared for, even before their teeth come in.
How To Brush Your Teeth For Kids
As your child begins to get their toddler teeth (also called primary teeth), you will need to begin brushing their teeth regularly with a kid-friendly toothbrush.
Here are some steps to help you teach your kids to brush their teeth effectively:
- Start early. It’s important to start teaching your children about oral hygiene from an early age, as soon as their first tooth comes in. This will help establish a routine and make brushing a habit.
- Lead by example. Children learn by imitating the people around them, so be sure to set a good example by letting them see you brush your teeth twice a day.
- Make it fun! Children are more likely to engage in an activity if they find it enjoyable. Try making brushing a fun experience by singing songs, playing music, or allowing your child to pick out their own toothbrush.
- Use age-appropriate products. Choose toothbrushes and toothpaste that are designed for your child’s age and developmental stage. Make sure to choose a low-fluoride toothpaste that is designed specifically for children. Use only a small smear of toothpaste so they don’t swallow the excess.
- Show them how. Demonstrate the proper technique for brushing and flossing, and let your child practice on their own teeth. Show them how to brush the chewing surface of the back teeth and the inner and outer surfaces of the teeth. Then, demonstrate how to floss by moving the dental floss between each tooth. Be patient and encourage them throughout the process.
- Supervise and assist. In order to avoid plaque buildup, be sure to supervise your child until they are old enough to brush and floss on their own, to ensure they are doing a thorough job. You may need to assist with brushing and flossing until they are able to do it themselves.
- Reward good habits. Positive reinforcement can be a great motivator for kids. Consider rewarding your child for brushing their teeth regularly and effectively.
How to Make Brushing Teeth Fun For Kids
It can be hard to get a toddler to do almost anything when they aren’t in the mood, so here are some tips for making teeth brushing a fun part of their daily routine.
- Play songs. Choose one of your child’s favorite songs that lasts for two minutes (the recommended time for brushing teeth) and play or sing it while brushing. This can make the experience more enjoyable and help your child associate brushing with something positive.
- Make it a game. Turn brushing into a game by setting a timer and asking your child to brush every tooth before the timer goes off. There are also apps that you can download on your phone that make tooth brushing fun and interactive.
- Use an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can be more entertaining for kids, as they often have colorful lights and vibration features. Some also play music or have timers to help your child brush for the recommended two minutes.
- Brush together. Brush your teeth at the same time as your child. This can be a fun bonding experience and will also serve as a good example of the importance of brushing.
Make Sure to Prioritize Pediatric Dental Visits
Regular, preventative visits to a pediatric dentist are essential for maintaining the health of your child’s teeth. These preventive visits provide a solid foundation of oral health knowledge that will benefit children throughout their lifetime. If your child is starting to get their baby teeth, give us a call to schedule their first appointment!