women teaching dental hygiene to kid

How to Teach Good Dental Hygiene for Kids

Teaching your child good dental hygiene is crucial in their development. Keeping teeth clean and healthy adds to a child’s overall health. Because of this, it’s important for children to understand how to take care of their smiles.

How Do You Teach Children Good Dental Hygiene?

There are plenty of ways to help kids maintain their oral health.

  • Establish a brushing and flossing routine.
  • Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your child’s soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Start flossing as soon as your child’s teeth touch.
  • Visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams.

At What Age Do You Start Brushing Your Child’s Teeth?

You should start cleaning your child’s teeth at around 6 months old or when their teeth start showing. Start by wiping your baby’s teeth with a soft cloth or soft bristled toothbrush and water. Then at 18 months, you can move up to using a pea size low-fluoride toothpaste. Make sure your child spits out the toothpaste after brushing and don’t rinse. It’s best to do this twice a day.

Parents are encouraged to brush and floss their child’s teeth up until 6 years old, or until he or she is coordinated enough to do it on their own (usually they can tie their own shoes by then). However, you should still help and monitor them up until 7 or 8 years old. Flossing can especially be tricky, but luckily there are Y shaped flossing tools that can make it easier. You might even find some with fun designs!

How to Make Dental Hygiene Fun for Kids

Teaching good oral hygiene doesn’t have to be boring. Making brushing and flossing a little more fun can help kids stick to a healthy routine.

Choose a fun toothbrush

Let your child choose their toothbrush which can come in a variety of colors and themes. They can have their favorite cartoon, TV show, or movie characters depicted.  Make the experience as personalized and colorful as possible!

Pick a tasty toothpaste
With a new toothbrush comes new toothpaste. Mint flavored toothpaste might not appeal to your child, so opt for a fruity and fun flavor he or she will enjoy. You can find flavors like strawberry, watermelon, and bubblegum. Plus, some kids’ toothpastes feature favorite cartoon and movie characters. A toothpaste that tastes and looks good helps keep kids interested in cleaning their teeth.

toothbrush diary2 minute timer
We all know that you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes. To a child however, that could seem like forever. Try playing their favorite song for a couple minutes to pass the time.

Rewards

Giving your child a reward for practicing good oral hygiene is a great motivator. Don’t give sugar as a reward, instead give them a toy or activity that they will enjoy. You can also have a gold star reward system where your child puts a gold star sticker on a calendar for every day they brush their teeth. Maybe when they fill up an entire week or month, they get a prize.

Be an example
A great way to get your child practicing good hygiene habits is to show them that you practice too. Brush and floss together so your child can mimic what you do. If our child isn’t old enough to do it on their own, floss and brush your teeth first then help them with their own. This helps set a routine and makes it more family-oriented.

Videos and books

There are no shortage of videos and books out there that focus on dental hygiene for children. Go to the library with your child and have them pick out a couple of these learning materials. Children’s resources are designed to make dental hygiene simple and fun.

Dental hygiene is important for children to learn. Luckily it doesn’t have to be boring as there are plenty of ways to sprinkle a little fun into brushing and flossing teeth in between dental visits. Remember, teaching good dental hygiene starts with you, the parent.
Call us at 719-621-9670 for an appointment with our pediatric dentist today!