Starting to teach children good oral hygiene at a young age is important.
Habits they learn young stick with them through adulthood and can mean a much healthier mouth and better overall health.
Below are a few tips to help teach your child good brushing techniques from the start.
Teach by Example
Your child watches everything you do and then mimics you. This includes your hygiene habits.
Ensure your brushing habits are up to snuff so you aren’t teaching your child bad brushing techniques just by watching and copying you.
We all get tired and let some of our daily routines slip. Don’t let oral hygiene be one of them!
Brush your teeth with your child every morning and every night to show them how important it is.
As your children get older, they will want to be more independent in everything, including brushing their teeth.
This is good, and you want them to take responsibility for their own oral care, but you also want to ensure they are maintaining good brushing techniques.
Every week when they’re younger and less frequently when they get older, check in on them while they brush their teeth and make sure they are using gentle circular motions, brushing away from their gums.
Remind them how long they should be brushing their teeth- that full two minutes can seem like an eternity to sleepy kids.
Use the music technique with them to make sure they are brushing for the right amount of time. Something fun but not too upbeat will keep them motivated but not psyched up before bed time.
Ask if they are flossing. It’s just as important as brushing, but it should be done right. They can easily hurt their gums if they floss too harshly so make sure you’re confident they can do this correctly before leaving them to do it on their own.
Make sure there are fresh toothbrushes available for when they need to switch them out and that there are plenty of supplies- toothpaste and floss- so they have no excuses!
By the time your child is brushing their teeth on their own, they should also be getting regular cleanings and checkups at the dentist.
While attending your scheduled appointment, ask if your dentist or hygienist can go over good brushing technique with your child.
We all know, sometimes it takes someone else telling our child the same thing we tell them for the message to really sink in!
Your dentist and hygienist can also tell you if you child is doing a good job on their own, or what they may need to work on during regular brushing.
You can help remind your child what the dentist suggests, but also help them be responsible for their own daily dental hygiene and brushing. You won’t be over their shoulder reminding them to brush their molars when they’re in college (we hope!).
Is it time for your 6-month checkup, or your child’s? Contact us today to set up an appointment!