It’s never too early to establish a good oral health routine with your children, including brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist. Here, our Regina dentists share some ideas for how to help make oral health fun for the whole family.
By encouraging children to take good care of their teeth and gums, you are starting habits that will last them a lifetime. But because you can’t expect young children to create their own dental care routine, you need to teach them these good habits. The sooner you get them started, the sooner it will become a routine, and the easier it will be!
Regular Brushing & Flossing
Like adults, children should brush their teeth at least twice a day - once in the morning and once before bed. As soon as your child's teeth emerge through the gums, you should start brushing them. And as soon as they have two teeth side-by-side, you should start flossing them. When they can brush and floss for themselves, you can let them take over the job.
From a young age, teach your child about cavities and gum disease. You can do this by explaining how flossing and brushing can help keep plaque under control, which can prevent cavities and the need for more extensive dental work in the future.
Visiting The Dentist Early
Most dentists provide dental services tailored to children and their developing smiles.
As a general rule, your child should visit the dentist within 6 months after their first tooth comes in, or by their first birthday. The goal is to have your child visit the dentist before there is a problem with their teeth and get them used to attending regular dentists appointments.
In most cases, a dental exam every six months will let your child's dentist catch any small problems that are developing early. If your drinking water is not fluoridated, your dentists may also recommend a fluoride treatment for your child.
Making Oral Health Fun
You can help your children have a healthy smile by making oral health fun. Here are a few ideas to help your child get excited about taking good care of their teeth and gums.
- Use a sticker chart for good behaviour around brushing and flossing. Each time your child brushes or flosses, they can place a sticker on the chart as a reward.
- Make oral health a family activity. By brushing and flossing together, you can set a good example for them and make sure that they are brushing and flossing properly.
- Take them shopping to pick out their own dental care tools. Consider letting them choose their own brushes, floss, tongue scrapers, and more.
- Find out if their favourite television character has a special on oral health. They might enjoy watching the show and take away a lesson about oral health from it.
- Read children's books that introduce the concepts of teeth brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist. Visit your local library or bookstore to see what they have on the shelf.
- Surprise your child after a dental appointment with some fun family time, or a reward for good behaviour. Just be sure to steer clear of using sugary treats as a reward.