Healthy Dental Habits to Teach Your Kids
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 3/23/2022
The average American adult who does not practice good dental hygiene on a daily basis risks spending twice as much on dental procedures versus an adult who has good dental habits. It’s important to instill healthy habits in your kids so they continue the routine as they get older.
Here are four essential dental habits to teach your children now so they avoid cavities, gum disease, and other serious issues in the future.
Brush Teeth Twice a Day
We all know this one. Brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day ensures food particles don’t stay in the mouth or get stuck between teeth. If these food particles are not removed, they will cause tooth decay or cavities. The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth for two minutes after meals. Establish a routine with your children to brush their teeth before or after breakfast and after dinner or before bed.
Floss at Least Once a Day
Flossing is an efficient way to remove food particles between your teeth. Yet as of 2016, only 30% of the American population flosses daily. Don’t let your kids be part of this statistic. Show them how to floss their teeth effectively so their mouths stay healthy and cavity-free.
Mouthwash is the final step of a healthy dental routine. Mouthwash will capture any remaining food particles that were left behind from brushing and flossing. Adult mouthwashes can have a sting, but kid-friendly mouthwashes are milder. Get your children in the habit of using mouthwash so they can slowly graduate to grown-up mouthwashes as they get older. Mouthwash helps prevent cavities, gingivitis, bad breath, and more.
Visit the Dentist Every Six Months
In addition to having a healthy dental routine, children need regular visits to the dentist. Visiting the dentist can be scary for a little one. Schedule your family’s appointments on the same day so your kids feel less nervous. Have an older sibling or you go first so your younger child has a chance to get comfortable and familiar with what happens at a dentist appointment.
Some dentists have special stuffed animals or stickers for first-time children patients. Let your dentist know that this will be your child’s first dental appointment so they can be treated with extra care.
Make Dental Habits Fun
Another tip for establishing long-term healthy habits? Make it fun! Here’s how you can motivate your kids to stick to their dental routine.
- Be a role model: Kids learn by watching and they love copying! When you brush your teeth in the morning or at night, have your kids watch so they can emulate you. Be sure to be consistent about your own dental hygiene so they see how important it is to always brush, floss, and use mouthwash.
- Buy fun toothbrushes and toothpaste: Toothbrushes don’t have to be boring. Next time you go shopping, have your kids choose a toothbrush with their favorite color or cartoon character. Some toothbrushes light up or play music. Toothpastes come in different flavors like strawberry or bubblegum. Just make sure kids don’t swallow the toothpaste!
- Make it a party: Play their favorite song, turn on disco lights, make it an event so kids look forward to brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.
Establishing a dental routine early in their lives will make it more likely your children will grow up to be responsible, orally hygienic adults. You’ll be saving them thousands of dollars at the dentist’s office, and giving them a smile they’ll love showing off for years to come.
Kid-Friendly Dental Services at Kimball & Beecher
We love kids and kids love us. At Kimball & Beecher we cater to our youngest patients. We make it fun to be at the dentist. Schedule an appointment for your kids today. We can’t wait to meet them and teach them more about dental hygiene.