Dental hygiene is an important part of overall health, even for young kids. From an early age, things like regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits are crucial in building good habits and preventing tooth decay and injuries later on.
In some circumstances, teaching your kids about dental hygiene can be challenging — but you shouldn’t put if off. Fortunately, there are strategies to make the process easier on both you and your kids.
Here’s a guide on the importance of dental hygiene for kids, when you should start teaching them, and some tips to make it a success.
Why Should I Teach My Kids About Dental Hygiene?
Simply stated, when you teach your kids good dental habits, you set them up for a healthy smile both now and later on in life. From regular brushing to dental visits, you’ll help them prevent oral health problems like cavities and gum disease.
And, yes, young children can get cavities. In fact, dental decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the United States.
Therefore, getting them off to a good start will prove to be beneficial. Their beautiful lifelong smiles will thank you!
When Should I Start Teaching My Kids About Dental Hygiene?
As soon as your kids’ teeth are in and visible, they’re susceptible to tooth decay and other dental issues. That’s why it’s important to start teaching them about dental hygiene as early as possible.
Now, we understand that babies don’t have the capacity to understand much of what you tell them. However, if you start doing some of their routine cleaning for them, it won’t come as much of a shock to them as they age and are able to understand. Among others, this is one of the reasons why you should bring your baby in for their first dental appointment around their first birthday.
In the same respect, we understand that young children don’t always have the capacity to stick to a regular cleaning routine. Because of this, you’ll probably have to help them for a few years, but eventually they’ll learn by example and continue on by themselves.
How Do I Teach My Kids About Dental Hygiene?
This is the tricky part: figuring out the most effective way to teach your kids about dental hygiene. We’ll admit it — it’s not the most enjoyable process for anyone — even us dentists! However, there are ways to make even the most menial task like brushing your teeth fun for kids.
Of course, teaching techniques usually vary based on age. As previously mentioned, you’ll have to do most of the work for them when they’re a baby, and you’ll have to keep supervising them when they’re young kids.
No matter what, there are a few key things to remember while teaching kids about dental hygiene. Here they are, along with some special tips for a smooth, tear-free process:
Dental Hygiene Tips For Babies
- Wipe their gums with a soft, clean washcloth twice per day to get any cavity-causing bacteria or sugars out of their mouth.
- Bring them in for their first dental visit around their first birthday.
Dental Hygiene Tips For Young Kids
- Brush their teeth for two minutes, twice per day. Use a soft, small bristled toothbrush.
- Floss between their teeth and along their gum line once per day. You can use regular floss or a flossing tool, whichever is easiest.
- Bring them to routine dental visits every 6 months.
- Introduce them to healthy eating habits. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in added sugars (especially sugary drinks!) is key in maintaining healthy teeth.
- Make dental hygiene fun! Let your kids pick their favorite toothbrush color and toothpaste flavor. You can even sing songs while they brush their teeth to ensure they’re brushing for the recommended two minutes.
At Mogren Dental, we work with our patients from childhood to adulthood to establish a healthy dental hygiene routine. Schedule your child’s next appointment today.