Caring for a child’s teeth is different from caring for your own. If you want your child to grow up with a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime, get them in the habit of taking great care of their teeth.
The Lowdown on Kids’ Oral Hygiene
It starts before teeth even erupt from under the gums. Babies’ gum lines need to be wiped to remove leftover milk. Later, as teeth begin to peek out, you should brush them with a soft bristled brush designed specifically for toddlers.
In order to maintain optimal health, kids must:
- Keep in mind that as plaque hardens, it turn into tarter. This substance can only be removed via a professional cleaning.
- Be encouraged to brush their own teeth, but an adult should brush them a second time to ensure that all back molars are reached.
- Floss between teeth and under gum line every day.
- Brush twice a day.
- Avoid excess sugary and starchy foods.
- Only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste until your child is six-years-old.
- Routinely visit the dentist twice a year.
Kids get bored easily, and that can have an impact on adherence to oral hygiene routines. We’ve provided a list of ways to maintain children’s interest in dental care.
Five Ways to Encourage Children to Care for their Teeth
- Sing Along: Use the internet as a resource to find fun and silly songs about keeping teeth healthy. This playlist is a good place to begin.
- Lead by Example: Make sure you’re taking good care of your own teeth and telling your child how much you enjoy doing so.
- Offer a Reward: Track good dental hygiene using a calendar or chart and reward your child for a job well done. Avoid candy prizes—a playdate, a visit to the park, or a certificate are better choices.
- Fun Supplies: Allow your child to choose a brush that strikes their fancy. A fun pattern and watermelon toothpaste can make brushing more enjoyable.
- Teeth Activities: Take advantage of the fun games, crafts, and activities you can participate in with your child. Here is a solid list to begin with.
March 1st Is Not the End!
We celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month once a year, but teeth last a lifetime, not 28 days. Take an active role in your child’s health year-round.