How to teach dental hygiene to kids

Is it bad that my gums always bleed?

Teaching dental hygiene to kids establishes good oral health. It all begins with your support and guidance. When you take care of your child’s teeth and gums and show that you take care of yours too, chances are they’ll carry the habits with them as they grow.

Why are baby teeth important?

Primary (baby) teeth are important as they save space for permanent (adult) teeth. They also help your child speak and chew their food well.

A healthy set of teeth is good for their confidence when they become more conscious of their appearance and engage in social activities.

Poor oral hygiene causes decay, cavities, and premature tooth loss. When this happens, surrounding teeth can shift and lead to bite and alignment problems.

Misaligned teeth makes brushing and flossing more challenging, which further increases the risk of developing dental problems.

Teaching good oral hygiene habits to children

Here are some tips to teach your child good oral hygiene habits.

● Let them choose their toothbrush. Let your child choose their toothbrush to motivate them. You can also let them choose the toothpaste flavour they want. Don’t forget to change their toothbrush every 3-4 months or once the bristles start to fray.

● Supervise them as they brush. Even if your child can already spit and brush on their own, supervise to ensure they’re using just the right amount of toothpaste. If you can, brush with them so you can demonstrate proper brushing techniques.

● Watch dental care-related videos. Make your brushing times musical. Listen to their favorite songs and sing and dance together. You can also use the song as a timer to ensure your brushing time lasts for around 2 minutes.

● Reward them. Give your child small rewards if they’re doing a good job cleaning their teeth. Avoid giving them more sweets. Instead, you can give them stickers or let them play some more.

● Roleplay. Show your child what it’s like to visit the dental office. Let them become your dentist or dental hygienist for the day and have them clean your mouth using improvised tools. Let their favourite stuffed animals join in the fun.

● Make it a family activity. Plan something fun after visiting the dentist. Get everyone in the household to encourage your child to brush and floss by being good role models. Show that cleaning the teeth and gums is an exciting activity.

● Don’t prolong bottle feeding. If your child is bottle-fed, avoid filling their bottle with fruit juices or sweet drinks. Once they’re done drinking milk or water, remove the bottle from their mouth and don’t let them sleep with it.

● Limit sugary and starchy food. Sugary and starchy food tends to cling to the teeth. They’re harder to remove and when their residue combines with bacteria, they turn into acids that beat down the enamel. It’s okay to indulge in sweets occasionally, but don’t let them graze throughout the day.

● Keep it fun. Don’t threaten or scold your child if they resist brushing or flossing. Be patient and if it gets too hard, take a step back. It’s okay to rest. You want dental care to always be a positive experience for your little ones.

Most importantly, take your child to see the dentist as early as possible. The Canadian Dental Association recommends children visit the dentist by their first birthday.

Taking your child to see the dentist in Edmonton, Alberta

Your dentist examines your child’s mouth to check for potential issues with teeth and jaw development. Early treatment for dental issues is crucial to avoid complex procedures and protect your child’s oral health.

Here at Central Dental, we offer tips if you need assistance in caring for your family’s oral health. We show you how to brush and floss your child’s teeth for an effective clean. We work with you to make dental visits a pleasant experience for your family.

Contact us today at 780-424-6699 to book an appointment or to learn more about dentistry for children in Edmonton, Alberta.

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Family Dentistry

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