Creating Great Dental Habits in Kids

As adults, we know the importance of great dental care. Proper brushing and flossing prevents tooth decay, plaque and tartar buildup, gum disease and tooth loss. Getting children on board can be another story.

It will likely take some gentle persuasion on your part to get your child on the right track with oral care. Teach your children good dental habits and be sure to supervise your child to make sure they are properly caring for their teeth and gums on a consistent basis.

After all, you don’t want the first impression your child has with the dentist’s office to be negative as a result of neglected oral health. Starting good oral habits early on in your child’s life will help instill trust and a positive association with your dentist.

Here are some tips for instilling great dental habits in your kids:

Dental care should begin at the first sign of your baby’s teeth. While this ranges by child, it typically begins at around 4 months of age. Once the baby teeth begin to appear, you can use a washcloth to gently clean the teeth and then move to a small toothbrush designed for babies.

At age 1, schedule an appointment with a local pediatric dentist. While it’s important to have a professional check out your child’s teeth, it serves an even greater purpose – getting your child comfortable with the dentist.

By the age of 2, children should practice brushing their teeth with a children’s brush and a small amount of toothpaste (a pea-sized portion). Supervise your child to make sure they are thoroughly brushing their teeth. Make sure your child spits out rather than swallows the toothpaste. For children ages 2 and under, do not use fluoridated toothpaste unless recommended by your family dentist.

Make it fun! There are so many great, kid-friendly options for toothbrushes and toothpaste these days. Allowing your child to select their dental accessories ensures they’ll be excited about their brushing routine.

Be a great role model. Kids want to be just like us. Invite your child to watch you as you get ready for work or for sleep, including your brushing and flossing. Or make your morning and evening brushing routines a family affair by brushing your teeth together.

Don’t let infections and painful tooth problems as a result of neglected at-home dental care be your child’s first encounter with the dentist. Teach your child to take a proactive approach to their own health by brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding consuming sugary foods and beverages that lead to cavities. Remember, the health of your child’s teeth and gums has a direct impact on their overall health.

Dr. Papageorgiou is part of an Ashburn, VA tradition of dental comfort and care. He is a 1999 graduate of the Medical College of Virginia and has been practicing dentistry for more than 14 years. Article source: Article City.

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