Good habits start at the beginning. Teaching our children the right way from the start just might create a burning desire in them to build good quality habits for life.
Children need to be taught the proper way how to care for their teeth as soon as their teeth begin to develop – and if you start them on the habit early, they’ll have good dental hygiene as an adult.
You have to carefully brush a baby’s teeth with a soft brush and don’t use any toothpaste until your child is aware that the toothpaste should not be swallowed. For most children, that awareness is around the age of two.
By this age, under adult supervision, children should be in the habit of brushing their teeth – and if you make it fun, children will want to brush their teeth. By the time a child reaches kindergarten age, he should be able to brush his teeth without adult supervision.
Children should avoid sugary snacks like lollipops that coat the teeth with sugar for long periods of time – and they should also avoid high sugar beverages that can damage the tooth enamel. Some of these things are just common sense in this day and age.
Though it is a fairly common practice, discourage your child from thumb sucking, which can lead to buck teeth and poor tooth alignment. Teach your child to keep his fingers out of his mouth, since this is one of the main ways that kids pick up germs.
If your child is very young, to help him understand and get into the habit of taking care of his teeth, use a colorful chart to teach about good oral hygiene. You can use a blank calendar that has squares for every day of the week and let him put a check mark in the box every time he brushes his teeth.
Young kids should learn about flossing as soon as they’re able to hold the floss and should floss every single day. Regular dental visits should be begin as soon as your child starts to have teeth, because regular visits can catch small problems before they become big problems.
Children should brush at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. If your child is not old enough yet, and you need to brush for him, brush the outside of the teeth first from the back to the front and then switch to the back of the teeth. Make sure you brush the tongue as well.
Your child’s toothbrush should be changed regularly – every 12 – 15 weeks – or sooner, if the bristles are damaged. Also, your child’s toothbrush should be changed after every illness because the bristles can house the germs that caused the infection. Don’t store toothbrushes in covered containers, since this provides a breeding ground for germs.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to call your dental provider!