When children are young, they are very impressionable and ready to learn as much as they can about the world around them. This is why teaching them good oral hygiene while they’re young is important.
When they learn to take care of their teeth and gums at an early age, they’re more likely to continue doing so as they grow older.
Maintaining good oral hygiene throughout life can help prevent a range of dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay. As a parent or caregiver, you can help your child to develop the kind of excellent dental hygiene habits that will stick with them throughout their life.
As a family dentist that has been caring for families since 1983, we want to share some tips for teaching your young child the value of good oral hygiene.
Start Dental Hygiene When Your Child Is A Baby
It is important to get started with good oral hygiene when your child is still a baby. Even though they may not have many teeth yet, it helps to establish a routine.
That way, it’ll be far easier to stay on track with brushing and flossing as they grow. Of course, you will need to help your child until they are confident to do it on their own correctly – for most children, this is around the age of 8 or 9.
You also want to start flossing as soon as your child has two teeth that are touching one another. You can help them learn how to floss by showing them how to do it and doing it together.
Set Healthy Eating Habits In Place
Putting healthy food on their plates is a key part of ensuring your child grows with healthy teeth and gums.
Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay – the bacteria in our mouths use sugar from food and drinks to produce acid that can dissolve and damage our teeth.
You can help to keep your child’s mouth healthy by avoiding soft drinks, lollies, and other sweet foods.
Use Appropriate Mouthguards And Mouth Protection
When kids are young, they will often engage in rough and tumble games or even some contact sports.
If your child actively participates in contact sports, make sure they wear a proper mouthguard. You can get a custom-made mouthguard for your child that will cushion their teeth against impact and reduce the risk of injury.
This can also help prevent their teeth from getting chipped or knocked out.
Instil Good Brushing Techniques
It’s important to make sure that your child uses correct brushing techniques from the start and that they maintain it over the years.
Make sure they brush twice a day (at least) and that they brush for at least two minutes each time. They need to clean the inside and outside of their teeth and along the biting surfaces as well.
The best technique targets the gum line because this is where plaque is formed. You’ll also want them to use a soft-bristled brush to prevent damaging their gums.
Regular Dental Visits
A final habit that you should instil in your child is making regular trips to the dentist. This will ensure that any dental issues are addressed as soon as possible and prevented from getting worse.
Remember the importance of choosing a family dentist that will make your child feel comfortable. The more relaxed they are at the dentist’s chair, the more likely they’ll like to come back.