Getting your child started with dental hygiene habits early sets them up for a lifetime of good oral health.
Children need routine mouth cleaning even before teeth erupt. But more so once their teeth have come in. Tooth decay is common among young children, but you can teach your little one to avoid it.
Here are some tips for starting a dental care routine with children:
- Let them choose their brush and toothpaste. Make tooth brushing an exciting part of your child’s day. With your supervision, let them choose the toothbrush and toothpaste they want. Fun toothbrush designs and fruit-flavoured toothpaste may encourage them to clean their teeth. Be sure to offer them safe and age-appropriate selections.
- Play pretend. Introduce your child to dental care with role-playing activities. Let them become the dentist or dental hygienist for the day. Have them examine and clean your mouth using make-believe toys. Teach your child how dental visits work and their importance. This also prepares them for their actual visits.
- Watch dental-care-related videos together. Make dental care more interesting by watching related videos together. Sing and dance with your child. You can also use a song as a timer when brushing your child’s teeth. A song usually lasts for around 2 minutes, which is the ideal duration for brushing[MY1] .
- Keep it fun and positive. Associate dental care to everything fun and positive. Don't use dental-related words, such as dentist or dental office,[MY2] to scare or threaten your child. You want to avoid negative memories or situations, especially if you are yet to take your child to the dentist.
- Reward them for their achievements. If your child does a good job at brushing their teeth, consider giving them small rewards. You need not give them sweets. Instead, you can spend more time on activities they love. For example, you can extend their playtime or screen time a bit longer or agree to watch a movie they like with them.
- Partner with your dentist. Once your child turns 3, they may start using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Talk to your dentist if your child resists brushing or if you’re having a hard time finding a toothpaste they like. Here at Image Dental in Red Deer, we’re happy to listen to your concerns and offer dental care tips for kids. We understand that brushing isn’t always children’s favourite activity, but together we can help them appreciate and enjoy it.
- Be patient. Not all children respond to dental care the same way. Some may find brushing thrilling[MY3] , while some may not be a fan. If you’re struggling to get your child to brush, don’t force them. You can try again later.
- Be consistent. Try to stick to a routine and choose a brushing time that they’re most likely to be cooperative. Any progress is good when it comes to teaching good oral hygiene habits to little ones.
Make dental hygiene habits a fun-filled family activity
Focus on the fun factor when starting a dental care routine with your child.
Don’t compare your child's progress or challenges with that of other children. Every child is different and you’re free to do what you feel works best for your family.
For more dental care-related questions for your family, please feel free to get in touch with our dental team at (403) 342-5800.
Let's help your child grow up with a confident, healthy smile.