Helping your little one care for their teeth and gums is an important part of keeping them healthy and happy. When it comes time to teach them how to manage their oral health themselves, it is important to go about it the right way to encourage a lifetime of proper oral hygiene habits. Here are some valuable tips for teaching your child about proper oral hygiene.
When Should My Child Start Going to The Dentist?
When it comes to your child’s first dental visit, it is best to bring them in sometime around their first birthday and no later than their second birthday. If they have a tooth that erupts before their first birthday, this is okay – just be sure to bring them in right away for a dental examination.
Your child’s first few dental appointments are extremely important; the dentist will take this time to allow your child to become familiar, both with them and with the environment as a whole. This can help your little one form a base for a positive relationship with the dentist that can potentially last a lifetime.
The first appointment will also be used to examine your child’s dental health and to develop a prognosis for future teeth development.
Set a Good Example
You’ve probably heard it before: children are sponges! They soak up and retain information by watching and listening to things around them. One excellent way to teach your child about proper oral care is to set a good example and physically show them how you care for your own teeth.
Invite your child to watch you brush and floss, and take the time to explain what you are doing and why. This is an excellent way for your child to develop a strong understanding of why they are being told to care for their teeth, and it will make them feel grown-up to do it themselves!
Make Brushing Time Fun
Children flourish when they are given the opportunity to have fun while learning. If you find that you are struggling to get your child on board when it comes time to brush their teeth, you will likely benefit from switching things up to make the experience fun and exciting for them.
Below are some ways to make teeth brushing fun for kids:
- Brushing together
- Play their favorite song for them while they brush (two-minute songs are ideal)
- Sing the “Happy Birthday” song with them two times while they brush their teeth
- Play an interactive and educational video for them to watch while they brush (here is a good example)
- Use positive reinforcements – introduce a reward system for every day that they practice proper oral care. Consider rewarding them with a trip to their favorite park or restaurant at the end of a successful week
- Have a two-minute dance party with them while they brush their teeth
- Have the family brush together
Of course, you know your child best; consider what would click best with them, and implement it into their daily schedule to help them build a positive relationship with caring for their teeth. If you’re stumped on how to take the best approach, you can always ask your dentist for tips or tricks.
Let Them Choose Their Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Another excellent way to get your child excited about brushing their teeth is allowing them to choose their toothbrush and toothpaste.
Take your child with you to your local drugstore or grocery store; in the oral care aisle, you will find a wide variety of children’s oral care products. Most feature images and characters from popular children’s television shows or movies and are available in bright and fun colors. You may find that if your child is especially enthralled with a specific movie, show, or character, they will be much more excited about brushing time when they get to use their very own fun and special toothbrush that they chose on their own.
When it comes time to pick out a toothpaste, you will find that children’s toothpastes also typically feature popular children’s characters, shows, and movies. They are also available in “kid-friendly” flavors, such as bubble gum, watermelon, strawberry, and even chocolate. As long as the toothpaste you choose for your child contains fluoride, it will do the job of keeping your little one’s teeth bright, strong, and healthy.
Choose the Right Foods for Them
Helping your child maintain a tooth-friendly diet is another way to help them understand the importance of keeping their teeth healthy. It is also an excellent way to help them connect the dots and find the connection between what they put in their bodies and how it affects their health.
Below are some tooth-friendly foods and beverages for your child:
- Dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc)
Encourage your child to reach for a healthy snack that will help keep their teeth strong and healthy. Explain to them why you are recommending these foods and beverages over less-healthy options, and help them understand how it benefits them. This will help support not only ideal oral health, but overall health and wellness, as well.
Pediatric Dentistry in South Gate, CA
Pediatric dental care is perhaps one of the most important aspects of dentistry; it helps children develop a positive and long-lasting relationship with caring for their teeth, keeping them healthy and happy for years to come.
Reza Dental Care is here to help your little one maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. Our team will work with you and your little one to keep those pearly whites healthy and shining.
In addition to top-tier children’s dentistry services, we are proud to provide comprehensive dental and orthodontic care in South Gate, California. We are happy to provide dental care for the whole family!
For more information or to get scheduled for an appointment in our South Gate dental office, book an appointment online or give us a call at 323-457-8787.