Teaching your kids good oral health habits will set them up for lifelong healthy teeth and gums.
While establishing a routine of regular dental check-ups for your youngsters is crucial, you can do a lot at home to encourage them to adopt a sound routine of oral healthcare.
The most important oral health habits are brushing and flossing to prevent problems such as cavities and gum inflammation.
Teaching Your Kids How to Brush
Showing your children how to brush their teeth properly should begin as soon as they have the dexterity to handle a toothbrush on their own. You can lead by example by making brushing a family affair, which will also allow you to ensure they’re doing the job right.
Brushing should be carried out for two minutes twice a day (at least), preferably in the morning and just before bed. This will help to remove food particles and bacterial plaque that can damage teeth and gums.
Encourage your children to adopt the following brushing process, using a soft-bristled brush:
- Brush the front surfaces of the upper teeth and then the lower teeth.
- Clean the rear surfaces of the upper teeth, then the lower teeth.
- Brush the biting surfaces of all the teeth.
- Brush the tongue at least once a day for fresher breath.
Teaching Your Kids How to Floss
Brushing on its own will not get rid of all of the harmful bacteria that plaque contains, so teaching your children how to floss effectively is equally important. Give your kids floss that’s flexible and soft, so it’s comfortable on their gums, and explain how they should:
- Glide the floss gently between their teeth, without snapping it down onto the gums.
- Arc the floss in a C shape around each tooth.
- Direct the floss into the gum line, moving it up and down the sides of each tooth.
- Use a new piece of floss for each tooth.
As with brushing, you can make flossing a family occasion to set a good example and demonstrate the proper techniques. Flossing products come in a variety of fun flavours for youngsters, so let your children pick one they will enjoy using.
Schedule Regular Dental Visits for Your Children
Your children’s routine of good oral health habits at home should be reinforced with regular visits to the dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings.
A systematic schedule of dental exams will enable a dentist to spot any potential issues before they become serious. Six-monthly check-ups are generally recommended.
Regular professional teeth cleaning is also an important part of preventive dental care for children, reducing the risk of gum problems and tooth decay.
Young children’s temporary primary teeth demand the same level of care and attention as permanent adult teeth, so it’s advisable to find a family-friendly dental office with a strong focus on preventive dentistry and experience of a wide range of treatments for children.