Healthy dental habits are important for everyone, but especially for the kids. Good oral hygiene can help prevent dental problems in the future. Here are some tips to help parents and caregivers promote healthy dental habits in children.
- Start early: Begin cleaning your baby's mouth before their first tooth appears. You can use a soft, damp cloth or a baby toothbrush to gently wipe their gums.
- Brushing: Once teeth start to appear, use a baby or child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Brush their child's teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime, using a very small amount of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 and a pea-sized amount for children 3 and older). Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it.
- Help with brushing: It's a good idea to supervise and/or help with the actual brushing until they are doing it properly (usually around age 7 or so). My best tip is to allow them to "brush" first and then you get a turn to brush them also.
- Floss: Once your child has two teeth that touch each other, start flossing to remove food particles and plaque from between teeth and help prevent cavities.
- Drink and snack choices: Limit sugary snacks and drinks. Encourage brushing after sticky snacks.
- Regular dental visits: Schedule regular dental check-ups for your child. Every six months is suggested. A pediatric dentist is recommended. Starting early helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities as well as helps your child be at ease with the dentist and dental appointments.
- Be a good example: Brush and floss with your kids or make sure they see you doing it. Make your dental hygiene important so your children will do the same.
Hopefully, these tips can help you promote healthy dental habits in your children and prevent dental problems in the future.