Teaching Kids About Oral Health – Starting Young Leads To A Lifetime Of Good Habits

Oral health is important no matter your age, and when kids are taught to develop good oral hygiene practices at a young age, they get a smart start towards success.

Father and son brushing teeth

Parents and caregivers have the responsibility to lead by example and explain why good oral health practices are essential. The earlier this conversation begins, the better.

If you are a parent or caretaker to a child of any age, these tips below will help you to teach them how to properly and thoroughly care for their teeth, gums, and mouth. Make it a habit to continue the discussion regularly, especially with kids who make brushing and flossing a daily battle.

These common questions below are perfect for moms, dads, grandparents, guardians, and other influences in a child’s life. We all want our kids to be healthy, and oral health is an important part of overall health. Brush up on these tips and advice…

Does It Matter What Type Of Toothpaste We Select For Our Kids?

There are countless types of toothpastes on the shelves at your drugstore or pharmacy. Selecting the best one for your family may take a little searching, but it is usually best to stick to the basics, unless there is a specific reason your dentist directs you otherwise.

Choose a toothpaste flavor that is not too strong for your child’s palate; anything super minty could be too much for their little mouths to tolerate, and then they’ll be turned off to brushing. That said, a baking soda toothpaste may be too bland, or simply taste terrible to kids. Many manufacturers produce toothpastes geared towards kids, with fun flavors like berry and bubblegum. Select a toothpaste which contains fluoride for added enamel protection.

If you are unsure which type of toothpaste to choose, ask your dentist or dental hygienist. They may even offer you a sample tube when you are in the office for your child’s general dental exam.

Do My Kids Need To Floss?

Flossing regularly is a necessary part of good oral care. Brushing alone simply can’t remove every bit of debris and food particles which get trapped between teeth, no matter how well your child brushes.

Show your child how to floss carefully and completely. If they aren’t quite getting the hang of it, or they are too young to do it well on their own, you can floss their teeth for them. Get in-between all teeth, even the molars.

Kids may find the sensation of flossing to be a bit weird at first, but they will get used to it with some patience and practice. Perhaps you can find a flavored floss to make the experience more enjoyable for your child.

How Many Times Per Day Does My Child Need To Brush Their Teeth?

Twice per day is standard, but you should encourage your child to brush after consuming especially chewy or sugary snacks too. Once in the morning and once at night is generally sufficient in terms of brushing, and as noted above, flossing is part of the program too. A soft-bristle toothbrush won’t be harsh on their enamel and gums.

Watch your kids when they brush at first to be sure they are getting to all the teeth and are brushing long enough. Remind them to be gentle as they go over all of their teeth, followed by a rinse of water.

How Can I Be Sure My Child Is Doing A Good Job With Their Oral Health Routine?

As stated above, parents, guardians and caregivers must be good examples of great oral health care.  We all know kids learn by repetition, so it is always best to do it for them for a while.  Toddlers tend to just chew on the toothbrush, but that’s okay, because it feels good on their gums and gets them used to the routine.

Truthfully speaking, parents and caregivers should be brushing and flossing for their children (especially at bedtime) until approximately age 9.  Most kids don’t have the hand dexterity to brush and floss properly and they don’t have the time management skills or patience to hit all the hard-to-reach spots.  Older kids might get frustrated with this because they are “a big kid” and can “do it themselves,” but stand your ground and make it a pampering part of their bedtime routine.

Does My Child Need To Come In For General Dental Checkups Twice Yearly?

Just like adult patients, it is recommended that children see the dentist two times per year for general dental exams. Age 3 is a good time to begin this regular routine, however discuss any concerns with your dentist if you feel your child should be seen sooner.

They will get their teeth professionally cleaned (to remove tartar) and polished, receive necessary fluoride treatments and sealants, get x-rays taken, and so on. Even if your child is not experiencing any dental issues, this proactive practice will help keep their oral health in check. These visits aid in cavity prevention and any other dental/oral problems that may be brewing.

The dentist and/or hygienist will also talk with your child about good oral care practices and answer any questions you or your child may have.

Are You Due To Book A Dental Appointment For Your Child?

Do not delay if your child is due for a visit at Smile Hilliard. We are eager to see your child in a safe and comfortable setting, with careful COVID-19 protocol in place.

Please give us a call at 614-953-5239 at your convenience, or fill out this “Request Appointment” form here, and a friendly member of our office staff will get back with you to schedule an appointment for your child as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

We are committed to the best dental solutions for you and your family. Life is complicated. Dentistry doesn't have to be!

At our office in Hilliard, Ohio, Dr. Rachel Sanyk and the Smile Hilliard team are fully committed to providing our patients with the very best in general dentistry with comprehensive preventive, restorative, cosmetic, and therapeutic services.

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