Toddler aged girl holding a large pink toothbrush

5 Tips To Help Children Establish Oral Health Habits

Visiting the Dentist

There is nothing more heart-warming than seeing your little one flash their big, sweet smile. Whether your child’s teeth are still growing in or starting to fall out to make room for permanent teeth, it is vital to their dental health to establish good oral hygiene habits from a young age.

According to the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child’s first dental visit should occur within six months after their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. By introducing them to a dentist early on in life, you are establishing a trusting relationship between your child and the dentist, reducing the risk of dental anxiety in the future.

Pediatric dentists are able to teach your child the necessary steps to maintaining good oral health and help them create a routine they enjoy to make them look forward to brushing and flossing.

Here are some other ways to help your child love the dentist and take care of their teeth:

1. Create a Routine

One of the best ways to express the importance of oral health for your child is to make teeth brushing part of their daily routine. By creating this habit and repeatedly brushing your little one’s teeth at the same time each day, you are instilling the principle that oral health is not optional.

Brushing your child’s teeth should occur every morning, before or after breakfast, and every night after dinner. This routine teaches children that oral hygiene is a responsibility to keep their pearly whites shining bright!

2. Make it Comfortable

Many children don’t enjoy brushing their teeth for various reasons. While some may not enjoy the flavor of toothpaste, others may experience sensory issues with the bristles or not particularly enjoy the cold water on their teeth.

However, there are a number of changes to make this experience more comfortable and enjoyable for them! Prior to brushing their teeth, run your little one’s toothbrush under lukewarm water to prevent any sensitivity. If they don’t enjoy the smell or taste of the toothpaste they are using, opt for other flavors such as something more fruity, bubble gum, or flavorless. Your dentist may have samples of different flavors for your kiddo to try at home until you find one that works best!

If your child has a sensory issue with the toothbrush bristles, you can use a soft-bristled brush or a washcloth to get them used to the feel of something being on their teeth. Other children prefer electric toothbrushes over the standard toothbrush. No matter the method, it is vital to your child’s oral health for their teeth to get brushed to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

3. Add Music

Make toothbrushing more fun and exciting by adding your little one’s favorite tunes! Playing music not only adds a calming sensory component to brushing their teeth but can also be used as a timer. Because most children haven’t developed a sense of time, they often do not brush their teeth for the recommended two minutes. Using a song allows them to know exactly how long to brush for.

4. Let Them Have Control

If your little one is approaching their toddler years and showing signs of wanting to do things themselves, let them brush their teeth first. Watch their movements carefully, so that once they finish, you can help them go over spots they may have missed. This allows them to have the control and autonomy they desire while learning the proper movements that ensure a good brushing.

5. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using toothpaste with fluoride to help strengthen your child’s smile. For children under the age of three, no more than a small smear of toothpaste is necessary or an amount equivalent to a small grain of rice. If your child is between the ages of three and six, they can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. However, no matter their age, it is important to make sure that they are dispensing the toothpaste in order not to swallow it.

Pediatric Dentistry at Aesthetic Family Dentistry

At Aesthetic Family Dentistry, our pediatric dentist is extremely compassionate and highly knowledgeable in treating children’s smiles. Our team makes it easy for you and your entire family to receive care, whether your child needs a routine cleaning or cavity filling.

Call (845) 209-2500 or contact us online to schedule an appointment for your little one’s smile today!

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