While you should start caring for your child’s teeth and gums at a very early age, eventually your child will be able to take responsibility for his or her own oral hygiene routine. You can help to reinforce that habit by making it fun so that your child will look forward to it every day.
Of course, any home oral hygiene care is a complement to professional care by a pediatric dentist. Your child should be established with such a provider by his or her first birthday or when the first tooth erupts, whichever happens first.
When children are first born, their parents should perform basic oral hygiene tasks like wiping down the gums with a damp washcloth to keep them clean. As the teeth come in, parents will brush them using a small amount of toothpaste.
Around age 3, children will want to be more involved in the process, and it’s important for parents to encourage that interest. However, you may still need to perform the basic functions for your kids at that point to make sure the smile is getting thoroughly cleaned.
By age 6, your child should have the manual dexterity needed to brush their teeth thoroughly and effectively, allowing you to transfer responsibility for oral hygiene practices to them.
When children are able to do their own brushing and flossing, it can still be a chore for parents to get them to do so consistently. Here are some suggestions that can make it more fun so that your kids want to brush:
Your child should also see a pediatric dentist at least twice a year for dental exams and cleanings. Present this as an important part of their oral hygiene routine.
Need advice about how to get your child invested in an oral hygiene routine? Call The Smiley Tooth Pediatric Dental Specialists and speak to one of our knowledgeable team members to get some suggestions.