Establishing good dental hygiene at an early age can set your child up for dental success! Even though baby teeth are bound to fall out, it’s still really important that you take steps to brush your child’s teeth (before they are able) and supervise the brushing habits of toddlers and young children.
Failure to emphasize the importance of regular brushing and flossing could ultimately lead to issues relating to speaking and the development of healthy chewing and eating habits. In later years, discolored, unhealthy teeth could cause social anxiety and further develop into self-esteem issues.
Setting Positive Examples & Establishing Habits
As a parent, you are responsible for establishing your children’s habits tied to health and general well-being. While helping your child brush their teeth in early years and then monitoring their progress is important, there are other efforts that you can take to motivate your child to establish healthy habits.
A few ideas to point your toothbrushing guidance include:
- Brushing your teeth at the same time and with your children each day – do the same with flossing!
- As your child brushes their teeth, talk them through different ways to brush each tooth, making sure to target each surface of the tooth and attempt different angulation strategies
- Set a timer or play a song and ask your child to brush their teeth until the timer goes off or the song is over
- Praise and thank your child each time they brush their teeth, but do not bribe them
- Set up a toothbrushing goal chart with stickers to show achievement
- Think up a contest or game with your kids, such as who can brush the longest
When you’re able to turn toothbrushing into an enjoyable moment with your kids you can set your children up to develop strong, healthy teeth and empower them to create life-long healthy habits.
Preparing for Your Child’s 1st Visit to the Dentist
You should start thinking about your child’s first trip to the dentist within 6 months after their first tooth. Otherwise, another good rule of thumb is to schedule a first visit around the age of 2.
Alongside healthy brushing habits, regular visits to the dentist are a great way to establish proper oral hygiene and demonstrate the importance of oral health for your kids. Prior to this visit, talk with your child about the positives of visiting the dentist, try some role playing with a doll or read a book about visiting the dentist. Any steps you can take to get your child comfortable and excited about visiting the dentist will certainly pay off in the long run.