Are you trying to teach your first child how to have healthy teeth and good oral hygiene? It’s your job as a parent to help your child keep their teeth clean. Dental hygiene is crucial, even when your children still have their baby teeth (or even no teeth at all). If you’ve never helped a child brush their teeth before, though, this might be confusing. After all, can you even remember how you learned how to brush your teeth? As experts in dentistry for kids, we’re here to help with some dental health tips.
Keep reading to learn all about keeping your child’s teeth in great condition.
Many parents aren’t aware of how early you’re supposed to start taking your child to the dentist. They may not start until a child is in grade school!
Did you know that many dentists recommend that you start taking your child to the dentist before they’re one year old? Ideally, you start when their first tooth starts to erupt (which often happens around 6 months).
You might be wondering why that’s so important.
First, you want to get your child used to the dentist as early as possible. This will make them more comfortable when they have to go in for visits as they get older.
Your pediatric dentist will also teach you how to take care of your baby’s dental hygiene, even when they’re little. You have to brush their gums, watch their diet, and make sure that they’re not doing anything that could harm them later on (such as excessive thumb-sucking).
Because parents don’t come pre-programmed with knowledge about taking care of baby teeth, dentists are a great resource.
Finally, while children only have baby teeth for their first few years, though teeth are important. If children get cavities, it can lead to gum issues. Gum disease doesn’t go away, so it’s best to take care of teeth early on.
Lead by Example
Children learn by copying you! Make sure that you’re setting a good example and showing them the ropes.
While your child is learning how to brush their teeth, they need to watch you. This means that it’s best if you brush your teeth at the same time as your child (even if you plan on eating and drinking after your child goes to bed).
This also means that you need to brush the right way as well.
If you’re not sure, here’s a quick guide. First, make sure that you wait for a few minutes to an hour after eating before you brush your teeth. This protects your enamel.
Try to brush for about 2 complete minutes, and make sure that you’re reaching all of your teeth. Show your child how thorough you’re being.
Make sure that you floss every night and that you don’t rinse your mouth after brushing. This allows fluoride to stay on the teeth.
Use Apps and Music
As we mentioned, you and your child should be brushing your teeth for two minutes. While an adult attention span can handle this, a child may have a more difficult time. After all, brushing your teeth is boring.
Luckily, there are solutions to this.
First, there are some toothbrushes available that play songs for the perfect amount of time that it takes to thoroughly brush teeth. This gives children a cue for when they’re done.
If you don’t feel like buying a special toothbrush, consider playing your child’s favorite song while they brush.
If this doesn’t work, try an app or game. There are plenty of tooth-brushing apps for kids and most of them are free. They generally include a small game for children to play while they’re brushing their teeth.
Supervise Your Child
While your child is still learning, it’s crucial that you supervise them. This will ensure that they’re doing everything the right way and that they’re staying safe.
When they’re young, stay in the bathroom with them. They might need help or have questions.
When they’re older, they may not be as happy about you looking over their shoulder while they get ready for bed. After all, they’re gaining independence! Instead, visit the restroom after them and check to see if their toothbrush is dry.
A dry toothbrush means that your child didn’t brush their teeth!
When your child is little, it’s helpful to offer small incentives when they’re doing a good job. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to encourage good behavior.
Consider making a sticker chart and adding a sticker every time your child remembers to brush their teeth on their own. After a set amount of stickers, offer a small allowance or gift. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial.
It might seem silly to do this, but it’s a great way to encourage children who are resistant to taking care of their oral hygiene.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
We already mentioned the importance of an early dental visit, but you should also be scheduling routine dental cleanings and checkups for your child.
Dentists recommend that you visit the dentist at least twice per year, and pediatric dentistry is no exception. Your child can get a professional cleaning and your dentist can catch any problems before they turn into emergencies.
There’s nothing more important for your child’s dental health than taking them to a professional!
Dentistry for Kids: Keep Your Child’s Mouth Healthy
If you take care of your child’s teeth when they’re young, you’re giving them a great start. They’ll have a better chance at maintaining good oral health for a lifetime!
Talk to a pediatric dentist today about how you can keep your child’s mouth healthy and clean.
Are you looking for experts in dentistry for kids? At Dentistry for Children, our experienced pediatric dentists know all about the intricacies of childhood dental health. Contact us to set up an appointment today!