Teaching Good Dental Habits Early
Adults have all heard the gentle reminders from the dentist: use fluoride, floss daily, brush your teeth morning and night. These habits can be hard to keep up with if you’re out of practice. Teaching good dental hygiene to your child early means increasing their chances of having healthy teeth – and decreases their chances of hearing continual reminders from the dentist! Here’s how you can help your child take care of their beautiful smile.
Brush Daily – Morning and Night!
As soon as that first tooth pops through your baby’s gums, you should be brushing your child’s teeth (or tooth!). Dentists recommend parents begin to teach their children to brush when they reach the age of 3. From ages 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is all you need. If your child has a hard time not swallowing the toothpaste, switch to a low-fluoride brand specifically designed for kids. And make sure they are brushing every single tooth in their mouth!
Floss Every Day
The American Dental Association recommends flossing a child’s teeth as soon as two of their teeth are touching. It’s important to keep all sides of the tooth clean – and that means flossing in between! You can start teaching your child how to floss around the same time they learn to brush. It can be tricky for young children to floss their entire mouth on their own, so be patient and always be ready to lend a hand. Plastic floss picks are a great way for kids to learn to floss, and they often come in fun designs.
Consider Using Mouth Wash.
Fluoride is a key ingredient for healthy teeth. Fluoride-infused toothpaste is an easy way for kids to get the benefits. But what if your child swallows toothpaste too often? Swallowing too much fluoride isn’t healthy. If your child is struggling, you may wish to switch to a kid-friendly toothpaste. But doing so means less fluoride in their routine. This is when mouth wash can be beneficial.
Reader’s Digest suggests using an alcohol-free mouth wash as a great way to introduce fluoride into your child’s dental routine. But you may want to wait until your kid is a bit older. It can be tough for little ones to swish the mouth wash without swallowing it. Wait until your child is more independent to teach this skill. Take the time to teach them how to swish without swallowing, and watch to make sure they are capable of using it on their own. They’ll be smiling brightly in no time!
Remember that teaching and developing good dental habits takes time. So have fun with it – and don’t forget to smile!