Have you been trying to teach your kids how to brush their teeth? Are you wondering when you should start? Do you want to teach them the importance of having healthy teeth, while making brushing fun? Finding this balance can be challenging. The balance between teaching your children about oral health while ensuring that they brush their teeth properly may not always be easy. How do you help your children see the importance of oral care? Follow the steps below.
1. Start sooner rather than later. Even before your children’s teeth grow in, you can lightly brush around their gums. As their teeth begin to grow in, you can use an infant toothbrush. Consider brushing them twice per day.
As your children get older, teach them about the importance of oral health. If your children appear uninterested in brushing their teeth, try to find videos online, possibly with their favorite television characters or characters from books, which teach them the importance of brushing their teeth. You can even buy a toothbrush with their favorite characters on them. You may want to consider buying soft bristle toothbrushes, especially if their gums are sensitive.
2. Brushing is just the start. It’s great to emphasize the importance of brushing, but don’t stop there. Don’t forget about flossing, too. Once your children’s teeth start to come in, you can begin flossing them. As your children get older, you can teach them not only the importance of flossing, but also how to properly floss.
You may choose to teach your children how to floss before introducing them to mouthwash. It’s important that they understand to swish the mouthwash in their mouth, and then to spit it out. You may want to introduce an alcohol-free mouthwash into their daily routines to start.
Consult a dentist to determine when the best time is to introduce your child to using floss and mouthwash. Creating the right habits when your children are young can help to ensure that they consistently practice them.
Remember, be patient with your children. They may not initially love the idea of flossing, but there’s tons of ways to make flossing fun. You can turn it into a game or let them choose colorful floss. They may not feel comfortable flossing right away, so be encouraging.
3. Eliminate the pacifier. Typically you should try to eliminate the pacifier at or around ages two or three. Pacifiers can have lasting impacts on your children’s teeth. Pacifiers can create changes in the roof of your children’s mouth and cause problems with their bite.
4. Get regular check ups. Many dentists will start seeing children as young as one. Getting your child acclimated with a dentist early can greatly benefit your child’s long term oral care. Seeing a dentist regularly can help your child develop a level of comfortability with the dentist. The dentist will be able to keep track of your children’s oral health and conduct x-rays as needed.
5. Watch out for sugar. Many juices and foods contain sugar that can stick to your children’s teeth. Over time, this may lead to tooth decay. Try to switch to sugar-free juices and snacks. The sugar from the snacks and juices can cause cavities. If your kids are eating foods that contain sugar, make sure that they brush their teeth or use a mouthwash after they eat them. This will help remove the sugar from their teeth.
Also, be cautious of prolonged use of sippy cups. Your children may love them now, but down the road, the sugary juices that they may be drinking from them can lead to tooth decay.
6. Consider using fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities. Fluoride protects teeth by making them more resistant to acid. If you prefer to use more natural methods, consider adding Vitamin D to your children’s diet. Foods such as mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, and tuna contain Vitamin D. Coconut oil, olive oil, and oregano oil can also act as antibacterials.
7. Speak with a dentist. The best way to come up with a routine for your children is to consult a dentist. He or she will be able to provide you with proper brushing techniques, when to introduce floss and mouthwash, and when it’s a good time to let your children brush alone.
It’s always important to be patient with your children as they begin their path to successful oral care. They may not enjoy brushing their teeth at first, but your children will be grateful when they have a healthy smile.