One of the very best things that you can do for your kids when they’re very young is teaching them good oral care habits. The good news is that teaching those good habits doesn’t have to be tedious or boring — you can introduce positive oral health habits in a natural and even fun way. The habits that your child develops when they’re very young are going to stick with them for their whole life, so make sure they’re the right ones. Here are some tips on starting positive oral health habits young.
Regular Visits to the Dentist
It’s important to take your child to see the dentist regularly. By doing so, your child will learn to view the dentist’s office as a normal part of life — and with a positive and engaging dentist like Dr. Shields, your child may even have some fun at these visits.
The first visit should occur at 12 months, or whenever your child cuts their first tooth. Dr. Shields will tell you the best follow-up schedule for your child’s needs. A few things to remember when making appointments are:
- Schedule earlier in the day if possible, when your child is well-rested and happy
- Always act positive when you mention the dentist
- In the days before the visit, remind your child that it’s coming up soon
In your child’s dentist visits, Dr. Shields will look for cavities, assess your child’s tooth decay risk, clean your child’s teeth, and discuss any particular concerns that you might have. If you’re worried about thumb sucking, bottle use, or other habits that can impact your child’s oral health, this is the perfect time to discuss it with Dr. Shields.
Making Brushing Fun
Brushing is the most essential oral care habit to instill in your child while they’re still young, but some parents find that it’s hard to convince their resistant little ones to actually brush as often as they should. Your child should be brushing their teeth two times a day, for two minutes each time. A quick scrub-around with the brush simply isn’t sufficient to get rid of plaque.
Do a few things to make brushing time more fun. You might want to do your own brushing sessions along with your child’s. Kids love to model their behavior after their parents, and when they see you doing the very same thing they’re more likely to follow along.
Be sure that your child has the appropriate brushing tools, including a child-size toothbrush that has soft bristles. Let your child choose a special toothbrush on their own. Most kids find it fun to look at the wide variety of kid-themed brushes to choose one for themselves. Whether it’s a wild color or a cartoon character themed brush, it doesn’t matter — it’s got your child’s attention, and that’s what really matters.
Be sure to find a toothpaste that your child enjoys. Some kids try to resist brushing because they find the taste of typical toothpastes “yucky” — so let them choose one of those flavors marketed just for kids their age. Bubblegum, tutti-frutti, and other crazy flavors may sound awful to most adults, but they can be a guaranteed way to ease your child into brushing on a regular basis.
Your child will need to learn how to time their tooth brushing sessions, and a toothbrushing app on your phone can make this super-easy. Options like BrushyTime, BrushUp, Chomper Chums, or the Disney Magic Timer can make it fun by letting your child earn digital rewards like stickers, new content, or engaging cartoons.
Your Dental Partner in Your Child’s Oral Health
Dr. Shields and the entire Smiles by Shields team are here to help you and your child enjoy the best oral health through natural holistic dentistry and whole body wellness. Dr. Shields delivers the best in dental care in a warm and supportive environment that patients of all ages will love. Book your child’s visit to Smiles by Shields today!