The Importance of Dental Hygiene for Children
Setting your child up for dental success starts with helping to make sure they understand the importance of dental hygiene in children, and making the dentist a pleasant part of their semi-annual routine. Fortunately, regular dental visits allow you to catch any potential problems early. This can help ensure your child’s ability to eat and talk is not negatively impacted. Establishing good dental habits as a child means better dental habits as an adult. These good habits start with you!
Choosing the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste for Your Child
Even before the first tooth peeks out, you can routinely wipe your child’s gums clean with a damp cloth after feeding. When those first teeth do cut through the gums, you can use a toothbrush specially made for babies to give them a gentle scrub twice a day. Babies don’t require much toothpaste, just a dab about the size of a grain of rice. Be sure to use toothpaste that is safely made for children. Toddlers will want to learn to brush their own teeth. Choose a toothbrush that has a handle they can grip easily and select a kid safe fluoride toothpaste. Letting your child pick out their own flavor of toothpaste can encourage brushing. Use only about a pea-sized amount for your toddler, and be sure it is spit into the sink instead of swallowed. Watch your child brush their teeth and help them when needed. You should also floss your child’s teeth. Be gentle and thorough. If your child is a squirmer, floss picks can make this task easier. When your child reaches second or third grade, you should introduce independent flossing, and the use of mouthwash.
Encouraging Good Oral Hygiene
Adding games to teeth brushing time is a great way to encourage your kids to keep their teeth healthy. Make tooth care fun with a few fun and engaging activities for your kids:
- Brush your teeth with your kids. Pretend you have no idea what you’re doing. Let your kids teach you how.
- Put on favorite children’s songs for two to three minutes while they brush.
- Sing a special, silly song while your little ones are brushing teeth.
- Tell kids they’re going on a sugar hunt with their toothbrush. You can even narrate a fun story about hunting down sugar on the teeth they need to brush.
One of the best ways to encourage kids to brush from the list above is the first bullet suggesting you brush your teeth with them. Children love to mimic their parents!
Scheduling Dental Visits for Kids
Your child’s first dental visit should happen before their first birthday, or within six months of their first tooth coming in. After that, children, like adults, should see the dentist every six months. This both improves their oral health and gets them used to seeing a dentist regularly. During the first visit, the dentist may give your child’s teeth a thorough examination, and may evaluate your child’s jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissue. These early visits help build your child’s confidence and comfort with going to the dentist. A good dental team knows how to make sure your child keeps wanting. and is excited about having to come back.
The warm and friendly staff at Novi Oaks Dental wants to help improve the dental hygiene for children. Make an dental appointment for your little one(s) for a first time visit to the dentist, or as part of a continuing dental health journey. With state-of-the-art equipment and patient, understanding staff, who love to see children smile, Novi Oaks Dental is the premier choice in dentistry in Metro Detroit.