Oral care and hygiene should begin as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. Those tiny baby teeth need to be cleaned to keep them healthy. Your child will need those baby teeth for chewing, proper speech and permanent teeth guidance for 5-12 years. The best ways to protect those teeth are with daily oral hygiene and routine dental visits. Teaching your child how to brush and floss are vital to begin good oral habits early for a smile that can last a lifetime.
Kids should be taught how to brush their teeth from a very early age, but they will need help from their parents. Children do not have full eye and hand coordination when they are toddlers or preschool age, but they can begin to brush their teeth with their own kid-friendly toothbrush to get in the habit. Parents will need to continue to brush and floss after to ensure plaque and bacteria are removed until around age six or longer. At around age six, kids should be able to brush their own teeth, but ensuring they are brushing thoroughly takes a little time.
Tips for Making Oral Hygiene Fun
Kids learn through mimicking their siblings, parents and other family members. They are also motivated to learn when the activity is fun. To teach kids good oral hygiene and dental habits, it is important to lead by example and make oral hygiene fun. Parents should make brushing and flossing a family affair – showing kids how they brush their own teeth as well as cleaning the child’s teeth. Some tips for making oral hygiene fun include:
- Let kids pick out their own toothbrush. Giving kids a choice helps them take ownership of their oral habits.
- Add music to the morning and evening cleaning. Find fun dental songs to sing or play during morning and night teeth cleanings.
- Give kids incentives. A “gold star” or other rewards for teeth cleaning can be fun and motivate kids to complete their daily oral hygiene activities.
- Play teeth cleaning games. From phone apps to old school techniques, there are fun teeth cleaning games to play with your kids. This can be a special time you spend together each day that will have a positive association for years to come.
At Harlandale Kids Dental, we want to help all our young patients learn excellent oral hygiene habits. We are here to teach both kids and their parents the best way to protect those growing smiles. It is our goal to provide a fun and unique dental experience for all our patients. Call us today at our San Antonio clinic to schedule your child’s next visit to learn more about helping your kids create excellent oral habits.