Creating good habits for your children is extremely important in ensuring that they carry good habits into adulthood. In saying this, dental health should be a habitual practice and it is important to show your children how to take care of their teeth effectively and efficiently. Here are some tips to make your child comfortable with their own dental health.
- Start cleaning your child’s mouth even before your child has teeth: It gets you and your child into the habit of keeping their mouth clean, and it gives primary teeth a clean place to grow into. The goal is to wipe all parts of the gums and teeth. Do this by using a soft baby brush or by wrapping your finger in a clean, damp washcloth. Then, brush or wipe your baby’s gums and teeth. Do not use toothpaste until your baby has teeth.
- Brush your child’s teeth until they are three years of age: Doing this creates a routine for you and your child. By showing your children the importance of taking care of their teeth at this age, they will be more likely to carry the routine into their later ages. If your child is at risk for tooth decay, use a very small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. If your child is at lesser risk, use a brush only moistened with water.
- From ages 3 to 6 assist your child in brushing their teeth: From ages 3 to 6 your children are gaining more awareness and control over their own health. Rather than brush for them, monitor and assist them in brushing where needed at this age. A pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste should be used at this age. By letting your child have more control over their dental health at this age, they are developing the desired habits and skills to take care of their dental health on their own.
Use these tips to create healthy habits for your child. Starting at a young age is essential to creating habits that will last them into adulthood. Consistent dental health is part of an overall healthy lifestyle.