A Guide to Teaching Children Healthy Oral Habits

Watching your baby get their first tooth is exciting. It’s a milestone that all parents enjoy, besides the fact that teething can sometimes be challenging. The question becomes, how do you teach your children healthy oral habits as they grow? Nurturing little smiles is easier than you may think. At Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we ensure your child grows up with healthy oral habits. As a pediatric dentist, we understand how vital oral health is for your child’s total well-being. Here are a few of our best tips on how to teach your kids the best oral health habits. 

Make Brushing Fun

Brushing doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it fun for your kids. Help them pick out a special toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash for kids. That may be a Marvel Spider-Man toothbrush or one in their favorite color. Don’t forget to replace it every three to four months, so make it a treat to pick out a new one. 

Another fun way to get your little ones excited about brushing is to play or sing a fun song during the process. This also helps with timing to ensure that they are brushing for the right amount of time, which is two minutes at night and in the morning. 

Don’t Forget to Teach Proper Flossing

Flossing is imperative. It removes stuck-on plaque and debris below the gumline, which is essential for preventing gum disease (gingivitis). Dentists recommend that kids start flossing when their teeth are close enough together, usually around two to six years old. 

All fun flossing shapes and tools will help kids learn to floss more easily. Different flavors of floss can be more appealing to kids as well. Think of flavors like wild berry, coconut, or bubble gum. Ask your child what they prefer. You can also put together a reward chart where they get a sticker each time for flossing and a reward at the end of the month for a certain amount of stickers. 

Let Your Kids See You Practicing Healthy Oral Habits

The old adage, “Lead by example,” really works well with kids. Let them see you brushing and flossing your teeth. Doing it together as a family can make it fun, too. If your children never see you brushing your teeth, they may wonder if you’re doing it at all. 

Use Fluoride-Based Dental Items 

Make sure that you are using fluoride-based dental items for your kids. This helps strengthen tooth enamel, reducing harmful bacteria on the teeth that can cause cavities. Most mainstream dental hygiene products geared towards kids will contain the right amount of fluoride. You can also get fluoride treatments done at the dentist during each visit after a routine cleaning. 

Watch Out for Sugary Candy and Juice 

An essential part of oral health for kids and their teeth is not to overdo the sugary candy or juice. Educate kids on why sugar and candy can damage their teeth in excess. Even 100 percent juice has a lot of sugar that can sit on children’s teeth. Ensure they drink lots of water, which rinses out their mouth after eating and drinking. 

Take Them to the Dentist Regularly 

One of the best lessons to teach a child about nurturing their oral health is regular trips to the dentist. You can start bringing them to our Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics practice within six months of that first baby tooth coming in. The fact is that cavities can happen as soon as they start getting their teeth, even in that first year of life. 

Then, regular visits to the dentist twice a year are appropriate. We’re happy to ensure your child has a healthy mouth to promote a beautiful smile. If you have any questions about how to take care of your child’s oral health, call us today to schedule an appointment.