Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits at a young age is just as important as taking them for regular dental checkups. While this can take some time and effort on your behalf, a healthy smile and strong oral health will be worth it in the long run!
Our pediatric dentists have put together these helpful tips for teaching good oral hygiene to your young children.
1. Teach your child how to brush their teeth properly.
It can be tricky to make sure your child is brushing their teeth properly. Teach them to use a gentle up and down motion, making sure to reach the gum line. Make sure that they:
- Use short strokes
- Brush the front, back, and top of teeth
- Brush their tongue
- Spit out the toothpaste when they are done
- Rinse out their mouth when finished brushing
2. Supervise your child while brushing their teeth.
Not only do you want to oversee to make sure your child is brushing their teeth properly but also young children tend to swallow toothpaste. Supervision also ensures they use the right amount of toothpaste and that the child properly rinses their mouth.
3. Use a timer or song to get children to brush teeth for 2 minutes.
Have you child brush their teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time. Make sure they brush their teeth for the full amount of time by having a designated timer for the bathroom or by playing or singing a song that is at least two minutes long.
4. Floss teeth daily.
Flossing is a very important step to make sure that plaque does not build up along your child’s gum line and in between teeth. There are plenty of fun flossing picks for kids to make it easier for you or them to get in between each tooth. Our pediatric dentists can also show you the correct way to floss children’s teeth and give tips on how to make the flossing process easier.
5. Use fluoride toothpaste.
For children under the age of 3 years the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends that parents consult with a pediatric dentist or health professional to determine if they are at risk of developing tooth decay and should use a very small amount of fluoridated toothpaste (size of a grain of rice). If not at risk, an adult should brush the child’s teeth using a toothbrush moistened with water. For children between the ages of 3 and 6 the CDA recommends using only a small amount (size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste.
6. Change toothbrush regularly.
A toothbrush becomes less effective at removing plaque and calculus from your tooth as it gets old. Most dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. Children can be more prone to sucking and chewing on their toothbrush so make sure to replace the toothbrush earlier on if the bristles are worn, flat, or splayed looking.
7. Book regular dental check ups.
Children can be more prone to dental cavities and dental problems than adults. As children get their first set of milk teeth (baby teeth) followed by their second set of permanent adult teeth, it is essential to have regular 6 month check ups with our pediatric dentists in Cambridge or Toronto, ON.
8. Limit intake of acidic and sugary foods and drinks.
What goes into your child’s mouth can significantly impact their teeth and oral health. Sugary foods and drinks can build up bacteria that can cause decay. Acidic foods and drinks can leave an acid residue on the teeth, which can lead to erosion of the tooth enamel.
9. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water.
Did you know that a dry mouth can encourage plaque build-up? By encouraging your child to drink water throughout the day you can help promote good oral hygiene. Develop good water drinking habits like drinking a glass of water when they wake up, sending a water bottle in their lunch to school, and keeping water handy in your vehicle.
10. Teach children not to use teeth for anything other than chewing.
No matter what age you are, you should never use your teeth to break, open, or tear anything other than food! Keep children from chewing on hard objects and make sure to set a good example by not opening objects with your mouth.
11. Discuss any concerns with your kid’s dentist right away.
If you notice any changes in your child’s teeth or other behaviours such as grinding their teeth in their sleep, consult with your pediatric dentist right away.
Have more questions about dental hygiene?
Is it time to book your child’s first visit to the dentist? Our pediatric dentists in Cambridge and Toronto are always here to help.
Contact our Country Dental kid’s dentists online about booking your child’s dental appointment or call our office in Cambridge at 519-620-7474 or in Toronto at 416-335-7377.