Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a struggle.
But what’s worse is when the toothaches start. Suddenly, your child has a mouth full of cavities and complaints.
How could this have been prevented?
By following this simple guide, you can have your child on the path to healthy oral hygiene!
1. Understanding Oral Hygiene
Possibly the most important step for children to have healthy teeth is making sure they understand why it’s important.
Helping to show them what can happen to their teeth in an easy to understand way will encourage them to take care of their teeth.
This doesn’t just involve teaching them why they brush their teeth, but also what foods they should eat or avoid to keep their teeth healthy. It could also include information on orthodontists and what they do as an extra lesson!
2. Make Brushing Fun!
By buying fun toothbrushes and good tasting toothpaste, you can help encourage your children by making the act of brushing fun!
Whether the toothbrush can sing or has their favorite cartoon character on it, making a game of brushing your teeth will make your kids more ready to practice oral hygiene.
When it comes to buying toothpaste, always make sure it has fluoride in it. If you buy toothpaste in fun colors with flavors you know your kid will enjoy, getting them to brush their teeth will be a snap!
3. Start “Brushing” Before Teeth Come In
It’s important to start oral hygiene off early by “brushing” your baby’s teeth. Often, this involves using a clean rag to wipe your baby’s gums.
By doing this, you will prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
Once the child begins to grow their teeth, this practice should be continued; when two teeth begin growing next to each other, you can safely begin brushing them.
When should I let my kids brush their own teeth?
While your child may want to be independent and brush their teeth by themselves early on, it will be hard for them to do so properly until they are about 7 years old. This is because their manual dexterity as a child is very low, and they will have a hard time reaching and brushing all of their teeth.
If your child insists on brushing their teeth themselves, let them! After they’ve finished, you can help by going back in over their teeth to make sure they’ve been thoroughly brushed.
4. Baby Teeth Vs. Adult Teeth
At roughly 3 years old, your child will begin to lose their baby teeth and grow in their fresh adult teeth.
It may not be as important to kids when they get cavities in their baby teeth, but making sure they understand the permanence of their adult teeth will convince them to keep them healthy and clean.
Starting your child on a path to healthy teeth early on will make them far more likely to keep their adult teeth as healthy as their baby teeth!
5. Do as I Do
Kids are informational sponges; by practicing healthy habits in front of them, you will encourage them to follow in your footsteps!
This includes both brushing regularly and eating healthy, low-sugar foods.
This can mean showing your child the proper techniques for brushing; not too hard, not too slow, and making sure to get all over your teeth and tongue.
Flossing in front of them and showing them how to hold and use the floss is important, too!
Of course, taking sugary treats out of your diet entirely isn’t necessary. Teach your children to use sugar as a rare treat instead of a daily reward will keep their teeth healthy and strong.
You can also have them visit the dentist with you on a regular basis; not only will this show your kids that you need a dentist, too, but it will help them realize that a trip to the dentist isn’t so scary.
6. Encourage Safety
Plenty of kids enjoy playing sports and doing regular exercise related activities.
This can be a common cause for accidents leading to chipped or missing teeth; teaching kids how to protect their teeth while they play is integral to good oral hygiene!
If your kid plays a rough sport, like football, then you should encourage using a mouth guard; this will protect both their teeth and jaw from serious injury, and prevent an expensive trip to the dentist.
7. Visit Dentist Regularly!
Having your child visit the dentist once a year will keep them on track for clean and healthy teeth.
Not only will your pediatric dentist provide good hygiene support with regular teeth cleanings, but they will be there for emergency tooth pain and cavity repair!
Your dentist can also provide you with good toothbrush and toothpaste recommendations for your child.
Something to consider:
How often should you take your child to the dentist?
Outside of emergency situations, a checkup and cleaning every 6 months or so after their first birthday to ensure that their teeth stay healthy.
Should your child be experiencing tooth pain or have visible cavities, it’s important to take them to your pediatric dentist right away.
Should your child lose an adult tooth, be sure to soak the tooth in milk to protect it until you can see your dentist. Take this with you in case it can be reattached.
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Life
Oral care for your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. By encouraging a healthy lifestyle and good brushing habits, your child should keep their teeth strong well into adulthood!
What did you learn? What tricks do you have for getting your kids to brush regularly and maintain good oral hygiene?
We’d love to hear your stories and suggestions!
Feel free to leave a comment down below with your own ideas.
For more tips and tricks for good dental hygiene, you can read more of our blog for additional information!