A picture of a toothbrush and toothpaste

Parents have a lot of lessons to teach their children. From tying their shoes to riding a bike to good table manners, parents try to instill good habits and healthy processes that will last a lifetime. To this point, parents also have a role to play in pediatric dentistry. In fact, helping your kids learn to brush and floss properly is one of the most important aspects of self-care. Without establishing good brushing and flossing habits early in life, children could grow up to be adults with significant dental problems.

Here are some tips that will help build good brushing and flossing habits into your kids’ routines.

Be a Good Example

Young children want to do everything that mom and dad do. So make sure they see you brush and floss daily. They’ll notice these habits are part of your morning and evening routines, and they’ll be compelled to copy your actions. Go a step further and make brushing time a family event every night before bed. Keep in mind that your kids will need a little extra help brushing until they’re six or seven to ensure good cleaning.

Have Fun in the Dental Care Aisle

Let your kids pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste. Allow your children to choose toothbrushes that feature their favorite cartoon character or favorite color. Browse the flavored toothpaste options and let your kids pick their favorites. Remember, you should not buy fluoride toothpastes for children under the age of three.  Make sure that it is labeled safe to swallow.

Set a Routine

Kids to need to brush their teeth in the morning when they wake up and at night before bed. It’s especially important at bedtime so plaque doesn’t have a chance to grow overnight. Use a timer to ensure your children brush long enough and to help them learn the proper length of time to brush. If convenient, have your kids brush after eating candy and sugary snacks like cookies and soda. Brushing after these snacks will remove food particles and cut down on the bacteria that cause erosion and decay.

Make It Fun

Use songs to make it fun to brush and floss. Try using songs like these from the American Dental Association or let your children listen to their favorite songs while cleaning their teeth. The purpose of the songs is two-fold: it makes brushing more enjoyable and it serves as a timer. Tell your kids they need to brush until the song is over so that they clean their teeth adequately.

Create Teaching Moments

If your child gets a cavity and has it filled, use it as teachable moment. Make sure your child knows that the cavity means he or she needs to improve their oral care. Don’t make going to the dentist seem like a punishment, but be sure your little one understands that cavities can be avoided with proper oral care.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

All members of your family should have regular checkups and cleanings with your family dentist. You and your children should have a scheduled appointment every six months to proactively monitor your teeth and remedy any problems before they become problematic.

Kennedy Dental Group located in Chapel Hill, NC, has been providing dental treatment and preventative care to their clients since 1967.  Call Kennedy Dental at (919) 967-9291 to schedule an appointment today.