Developing a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

shutterstock_41711881It can be daunting at times to juggle all of a child’s needs. In addition to looking after their food, clothing, development, health and education, you might also be worried about helping them to take care of their teeth to avoid unsightly problems, pain, and extensive dental procedures. Fortunately, you can prevent issues by developing a good oral hygiene routine early on.

Focus On Your Child’s Dental Care Regimen

Children’s dental needs change over time. Here are some suggestions for each stage of development.

Your Baby

Contrary to popular belief, proper oral care needs to start before your child’s teeth erupt, not after. When your child is a baby, wipe their gums down with a clean, moist cloth. Doing this will not only improve blood flow to their gums, but it can also help to remove bacteria. This simple action also helps your child to feel more comfortable with people touching their teeth, so that professional dental care will be easier down the road.

Toddlers Under Age 3

As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, you should begin brushing them with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Because children this young are likely to swallow toothpaste, use no more toothpaste than the size of a grain of rice. Brush your child’s teeth in the morning and at night, and try to teach them how to swish their mouth with water.

Children 3-6

When your kids are about three years old, they should be old enough to begin brushing on their own. At this point, children should be familiar with the concept of spitting out toothpaste that you can increase the amount to the size of a pea. Supervise their brushing sessions to make sure they are brushing the backs of their teeth and their molars. Also, talk about things like not brushing too hard and always remembering to rinse.

Kids Over 6

By the time your child is six, or around the time they attend Kindergarten, they should be able to properly brush their teeth completely on their own. As soon as they have two teeth that touch each other, introduce the concept of flossing. Teach your child how to floss properly without cutting their gums.

Make Brushing and Flossing Fun!

Does your child fight you whenever you ask them to brush their teeth? Instead of arguing with them, try to make your kid’s oral hygiene routine fun and appealing. Mention the benefits of brushing and flossing, including the fact that they can avoid painful cavities and ugly stains. Here are a few other tips that might help your child:

  • Let Your Child Choose Their Toothbrush: Instead of providing your child with a run-of-the-mill manual toothbrush, let them go with you to the store to choose their own toothbrush. Consider investing in a character-themed or brightly colored toothbrush to help your child to take ownership of their brushing.
  • Invest In Colorful Dental Flossers: Dental product manufacturers also offer a wide array of dental flossers, including flossing picks with imprinted designs and flavored floss. These dental flossers are also designed for smaller hands, which might make flossing easier for your kid.
  • Try Plaque Discovery Tablets: To show your child the purpose behind brushing and flossing, try using plaque discovery tablets. These tablets contain non-toxic dye that clings to plaque. After chewing up a tablet, your child will discover bright blue or neon green plaque on their teeth, which acts as a guide to help them when they brush.

We Can Help!

Here at Hines Little Smiles, we pride ourselves on helping kids to feel comfortable at the dentist’s office. We love meeting new patients and helping them to overcome their fear of the dental chair. We also love talking with families about how to improve their children’s oral care regimen. Make an appointment for your child today to start improving their oral health.

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