As a parent, you will have numerous opportunities to teach your children valuable skills and each one will yield priceless memories. Your child’s first step, your child’s first word, your child’s first bike ride, your child’s first unassisted brushing and flossing session…well, maybe that last one won’t be as memorable, but Abilene Family Dentistry wants to remind all parents that good oral hygiene habits begin in childhood. So, today, Dr. Webb and Dr. Awtrey would like to take this opportunity to give you some tips on teaching your kids to brush and floss.
Good Brushing Habits Last Forever
Just in case you have that nagging question about baby teeth, we’ll settle it right now. What’s the point of taking care of baby teeth, if they get a whole new set in a few years? As baby teeth come in, they are literally setting the stage for adult teeth. Premature tooth loss can mess up the corresponding adult tooth’s placement.
Bad hygiene in the early years can also cause infection, difficulty speaking and eating, pain, and even self-esteem problems that stick around long after your child has lost their baby teeth. Your kids will be rid of their baby teeth by 12 or 13, but the hygiene skills they learned to use will last them a lifetime. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, four out of ten kids in kindergarten have already had a cavity. The best thing you can do is start an oral hygiene routine early and keep it up:
Start in infancy. Wipe your baby’s gums after every meal with a moist cloth or a soft, infant toothbrush, but no toothpaste. Not only will this help with teething, but it is also their first exposure to dental hygiene.
Once he or she has their first tooth, it’s time to visit your Abilene dentists. It’s also time to start brushing twice a day. We recommend getting them in the habit of brushing right after breakfast and just before bed. Again, no toothpaste. Kids shouldn’t use toothpaste until they are old enough to rinse and spit.
When is it time for them to start brushing their own teeth? Get them started at 2 or 3, but supervise and help out a lot. Especially with the flossing. Between 6 and 8 is when they’ll be ready to take the reins.
Make it fun! Using stories, games, and music will help keep the griping to a minimum and form positive memories that will support good habits in adulthood. There are even smartphone apps that can help!
What else can you do? Give us a call! We would love to help you teach your children good oral hygiene for a lifelong healthy smile.
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
*Dr. Webb and Dr. Awtrey are general dentists performing pediatric dentistry services.