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How to Teach Children to Have Good Dental Hygiene Habits

Make brushing and flossing fun! After all, there’s no better way to get your kids to adopt good dental hygiene habits. For tips on how to get your youngest family members to take care of their teeth, contact a family dentist in Hamilton. They’re sure to have more great ideas for you. In the meantime, start with these basic principles:

Be the Example
We all know that children develop habits by mimicking those around them. Take care of your teeth diligently and have your children accompany you while you brush and floss.

Start Early
Even before your child’s first teeth appear, you should clean their mouths regularly. Frequently rub your infant’s gums with a moist washcloth to remove the bacteria that can cause gum disease. When teeth appear, progress to a soft infant toothbrush may get your child used to the feeling of having a brush in their mouth. The earlier you start, the easier it’ll be to get them to follow suit when they’re older.

Daily Brushing and Flossing
Brush teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled infant toothbrush. Only start using fluoride toothpaste after your child has stopped swallowing the toothpaste—a small peas-size dab is sufficient. Ask your family dentist for recommended toothpaste and toothbrush brands and remember to keep it fun! Invite your child to select a toothbrush and toothpaste tube they like and brush with them. Flossing is also vital to control plaque near the gum line. If you start flossing their teeth by age four, they should be able to do it on their own by eight years of age.

Dental Check-Ups
The Canadian Dental Association recommends infants get their first check-up by their first birthday. Doing so can drastically reduce a child’s dental bill over the next half-dozen years. Be sure to contact your pediatric dentist in Hamilton for tips on making your child’s first visit to the dentist as stress-free as possible, for both you and your child.

Snacks and lots of sweet drinks (including fruit juice!) are not good for teeth. They promote an oral environment that favours the development of plaque, which is the number one cause of tooth decay. Limit snacks—especially sweet and starchy ones—and sweet drinks. And, if your children do partake in them, have them brush and floss immediately afterward.

Have questions about dental care for children? Contact us at York & Bay Dental Office. We offer a complete preventative dental care program for kids.