Oral hygiene is a constant never-ending endeavour, and as such, children should be taught good habits starting as soon as possible.
How Soon is Soon?
You should be flossing for your child starting as soon as they have a complete set of baby teeth (usually 2-3 years old), and you should keep flossing for them until they are capable of doing it themselves. Try to stick to a consistent daily schedule and normalize the routine. In order for your children to pick up good habits, parents need to first be good role models! Children will be inspired to do whatever is it that they’re superheros are doing. Stick to a steady hygiene schedule! Make the pre-bedtime brushing and flossing routine a nightly ritual for both you and your little ones. Teach proper brushing techniques, and help your child floss until he or she starts to get the hang of it. Don’t just encourage and watch your child brush their teeth; make sure you’re also following your own teachings! Somewhat ironically, taking the time and putting in the effort to take care of your own oral health might just be the best way to get your kids to do it as well.
What Can I Show My Child?
You’ll definitely want to supervise your child the first few times they start brushing their own teeth. Make sure they aren’t using much more than a pea sized portion of toothpaste, and that they aren’t swallowing it. You may want to start your child off with a manual toothbrush, which is much easier to handle and a bit more engaging than an electric one. Teach them right off the bat what proper brushing technique looks like. Make sure they brush all surfaces of teeth and their gums using small circular motions, and to not forget their tongue! Finally, try your best to make the process fun and to keep it light. Children respond best when the tension is kept low and the fun level is kept high.
How Important is Diet to my Child’s Oral Health?
For many, many reasons, diet is vital to a growing child. However, don’t underestimate the role it plays in proper oral health! A balanced healthy diet will help promote the development of strong resistant teeth while also providing immediate benefits like keeping bacteria levels low and replenishing teeth mineral balance. Such a diet should include lots of foods high in calcium and other minerals, as well as vitamins. Vegetables are the best source for all of these, but alternatives include dairy products and fruit. Sugary treats and candy are fine to give once and awhile, but certainly not often. From a purely dental perspective, snacking should be kept to a minimum between meals, as the more food that passes across teeth, the more plaque that can build up. Obviously, this isn’t possible in all situations, so monitor snacking at your own discretion.
Children who develop proper healthy oral hygiene habits early are that much more likely to continue those habits throughout their life. Centennial Smiles is always happy to accept new patients of all ages. Visit our offices or call us at (587)353-5060 today!