As an adult, you understand the importance of oral health. Not only does good dental hygiene prevent tooth decay and infections, but it’s also linked to the body’s overall well-being. This is why it’s so important to instill proper habits in your children from an early age. Getting your little ones to take care of their pearly whites can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be.
Working at Orlando Pediatric Dentistry in Baldwin Park, I get questions all the time from parents about what they should be doing at home. Let’s start with the basics:
Did you know that oral care starts when you bring babies home from the hospital? It’s as simple as wiping infants’ gums with a soft washcloth following feedings to remove bacteria and keep the mouth healthy. Once a tooth erupts, brush twice a day with a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste on the tip of a soft-bristled toothbrush, wiping away any excess left on teeth.
It is recommended for your child to see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
By the time toddlers reach 3 years old, parents should be helping them brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes twice a day. Introduce flossing once two teeth start to touch each other.
Once kids are 6 years old, it’s time to introduce a fluoride mouthwash before bed. Continue flossing and brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. Experts recommend parents continue to monitor brushing until kids reach 10 years old.
Make Brushing Fun
While 10 years of overseeing oral care may seem like a long time, it doesn’t have to be the most daunting task in your morning and bedtime routines. Try these ideas to infuse a little fun into brushing:
Play a Song
YouTube has plenty to choose from, such as “Brush Your Teeth” by Super Simple Songs. You can also get creative and come up with your own.
Download an App
Oral-B’s Disney Magic Timer (free in the App Store) makes brushing for the whole 2 minutes an interactive experience with a little help from your kiddo’s favorite characters, including Darth Vader, Elsa, Mickey Mouse and more.
Learn About the Importance of Brushing Together
Read books like Where the Sugar Bugs Live or Brush, Brush, Brush! or watch videos together to encourage good habits.
Create a Smile Chart
Track brushing and flossing with stickers.
Make It a Family Affair
Brushing together feels more like a party than a chore.
Go Shopping Together
By letting your kids choose their brush, toothpaste flavor and other accessories, they’ll be more inclined to use them.
Products Your KidsWill Grin About