Teaching Your Children Good Oral Care Habits
Just like table manners, learning oral hygiene requires a little instruction and regular practice. In addition to visiting your family dentist in Sudbury, MA, Dr. Reina Garcia, for regular checkups, practicing good oral care can help your children maintain healthy smiles.
Establish a routine
Reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease starts with daily oral hygiene sessions. When brushing and flossing become part of your kids' day at a young age, the routine soon becomes a habit.
Morning and evening oral hygiene sessions eliminate plaque, a sticky, colorless film that causes tooth decay, and also reduce your children's risk of gum disease.
It's never too soon to start oral care. Wipe your baby's gums with a moistened washcloth or piece of gauze twice a day to prevent plaque from attacking emerging teeth. When a tooth finally appears, brush it with a rice-sized bit of toothpaste. As more teeth erupt, gradually increase the amount of toothpaste used.
Be a role model
Kids learn by watching what you do. Show them how you brush your own teeth or demonstrate on a doll. Teach your kids to hold the bristle against the teeth at a 45-degree angle and use soft, gentle strokes.
Help your children brush and floss until they can handle the job themselves. Most kids can brush independently around age 7 or 8, although they may need help with flossing a little longer. If your child is a reluctant flosser, flossing picks, interdental brushes, or water-powered brushes may make flossing easier.
Encourage your children to brush for at least two minutes. Brushing for shorter periods can leave plaque behind, according to the American Dental Association.
Give Your Child Some Autonomy
Kids may be more willing to brush and floss if they have some input into their oral hygiene schedule and the products they use. Let them choose a toothbrush and a toothpaste flavor at a Sudbury area drugstore. Do you dread the nightly brushing session? The more tired your child becomes, the less cooperative he or she may be. If brushing before bed triggers a little crankiness, schedule brushing for a half-hour or hour before bedtime instead.
Protect your children's smiles with regular visits to the Sudbury, MA, family dentist. Call Dr. Garcia at (978) 443-5500 to schedule your appointment.