Dental Health: How to Teach Good Dental Habits

Good dental care starts early, and healthy habits last a lifetime. If you’re uncertain about where to start, check out our guide to children’s oral hygiene below!

The Tools

  • Fluoride- free baby toothpaste
  • Baby toothbrush – extremely soft; some are made to fit on a parent’s finger or shaped for the child to chew
  • Kids’ toothpaste – offer fun flavors and colors; some have special pigments can help kids see where to brush.
  • Kids’ toothbrushes – very soft and made to fit kids’ hands and be easier for them to use
  • Kids’ floss – thinner than adult floss, more comfortable for kids to use
  • Kids’ mouthwash – alcohol free, often with anti-cavity protection. Children under 6 should only use mouthwash under supervision to prevent ingestion.
  • Accessories – from brushing timers to tooth puppets, there are a lot of dental care aids out there. Use them if they work, but nothing beats a parent’s help and example!

Brushing For Baby

Until your child is old enough to hold a brush, you’ll be doing all the work. Teething can be painful, so gentleness is important in the early days. As the teeth come in, use a baby toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste to gently clean them.

Teaching Toddlers

  • Get them involved. Once your child has dexterity to begin caring for his or her own teeth, go for it! They won’t be very effective at first, so you’ll need to help out, but there’s only one way to learn.
  • Get on a schedule. Consistency is key to building healthy habits. At first, go over the basics every day, so your child can feel confident in what he or she is doing.
  • Reinforce! Once your child has mastered the routine, check on him or her once in a while to reinforce technique and make sure no corners are being cut. Many dentists recommend overseeing kids’ dental care until they’re 8 or 9.
  • Make it fun. Play dentist with your toddler and find puzzles, coloring sheets, and activities to help kids feel happy and comfortable with dental care. Later, use a song, story, or saying to help them remember their oral care routine.
  • Be a role model. Let them see you caring for your teeth! Your example is one of the most powerful things you can do for your kids.

If you have any questions about building healthy habits or if it’s time for your child’s first visit to the dentist, come see us at My Family Dentistry! We’ll look forward to seeing you and your child.

Do you have any tips for building good dental habits? Let us know in the comments below!

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