From the time they’re born, you teach your child how to speak, eat, walk, and do everything else they’ll need to learn to be a thriving adult. However, many people don’t realize it’s also essential to teach your children how to care for their teeth. We certainly understand that teaching your child how to brush and floss their teeth can be challenging, but it’s vital that they know the importance of good dental habits from an early age. Luckily, you can give your child the tools they need for good teeth by following the helpful tips below.
Dental Hygiene Basics for Kids
You can start teaching your children brushing basics as soon as their teeth appear. For babies, simply wipe the child’s teeth with a soft cloth or brush with an extra soft toothbrush and water. At 18 months, you can start using a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to brush the child’s teeth twice per day. Just be sure to encourage spitting out the toothpaste and rinsing afterward.
Flossing is also appropriate once the child’s teeth start touching adjacent teeth. However, flossing may be trickier than brushing for young children, so parents should assist and demonstrate to the child how to floss correctly without damaging their gums. As children get older, they may push back and question why they need to brush and floss their teeth each day. As parents, it’s essential to teach them why keeping your teeth clean is critical and emphasize avoiding cavities and tooth loss.
Make Brushing and Flossing a Fun Experience
Children are naturally inquisitive and want to learn, but they also have relatively short attention spans and may get bored quickly. Try making their oral hygiene routine a fun and rewarding experience to combat this. For example, let your child choose their toothbrush, perhaps with their favorite tv character. Likewise, they can pick out their favorite toothpaste flavor instead of the traditional mint.
Positive reinforcement, which conditions good behavior with rewards, can also be helpful. For instance, each time your child successfully brushes and flosses their teeth, consider rewarding them with a healthy treat or small “prize,” such as a sticker or small toy.
Encourage Eating Teeth-Friendly Foods
It’s important to talk to your kids about which foods aren’t best for their teeth and which will help them remain healthy and strong. In general, it’s best to avoid sugary sodas, juice, and other sweet drinks. Additionally, foods like pasta, chips, and snack bars should be consumed in moderation. As an alternative, try offering your kids snacks that will help strengthen their teeth and gums but still satisfy their sweet tooth. Hard fruits, like peaches and apples, are great naturally sweet options. For a savory snack, dairy products such as cheese sticks and milk are excellent for protecting the teeth from acid erosion and increasing calcium intake.
Set Your Child Up for Healthy Teeth in Adulthood
At Aurora City Dental, we specialize in providing oral care for entire families, including children. If you have concerns about your child’s teeth or questions about oral care for children, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.