Five Ways to Teach Kids Good Dental Habits

boy brushing teeth and smiling

The habits a person learns as a child are usually remembered and continued in adulthood, so helping your child settle into a good routine of dental hygiene is crucial. In addition to this, taking good care of the teeth in childhood can prevent or minimize dental problems later in life.

Set an Example
To help your child understand the importance of dental hygiene, they must see that these habits are important to you. The easiest way to do this is to brush and floss your teeth with them. This is also a good way to make sure that your child is thoroughly cleaning their teeth rather than rushing through the process and not thoroughly cleaning their teeth. Your child will likely enjoy this part of the day, when they share time with their mom or dad.

Make Brushing and Flossing Fun
Another way to encourage your child to take good care of their teeth is to make dental hygiene exciting to them. This can be as simple as buying your child a toothbrush decorated with their favorite cartoon character or buying them a toothpaste in a flavor or color they enjoy. If you choose to buy flavored toothpaste, be sure that it contains all the necessary cleaning and tooth-protecting ingredients your child needs.

Take Your Child to the Dentist
It is common for children to be afraid of the dentist, and it may take quite a bit of effort to dispel this fear. When you have a dentist appointment, ask your dentist if your child can accompany you. Stay calm throughout the process, make jokes about it, and show your child that there is nothing to be afraid of. Be familiar with the dental cleaning process, so you can explain things to your child if they ask questions. When your child sees that dental visits are no big deal, you can make an appointment for them to have their own teeth cleaned.

Read Dental-Themed Children’s Books
There are several children’s picture books that address dental hygiene. For example, The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist explores the excitement of losing your first tooth and explains that going to the dentist is not scary. This is a wonderful way to keep your child’s interest as you relate to them the importance of keeping their teeth clean.

Reward Your Child for Good Dental Habits
If your child goes through a dentist’s appointment without a fuss, reward this behavior. Don’t give them a sugary piece of candy as a prize, as this defeats the purpose, but do find some way to express your pride in them for behaving. If your child brushes their teeth without being told, reward that behavior as well. Perhaps your child will respond positively to a sticker chart or a fun outing if they remember to brush every day for a week. Teach your child that maintaining good dental hygiene means that good things happen and they will remember the positive reaction to their behavior.

If you teach your child good dental hygiene when he is young, it is very likely that theywill carry these habits into his adult life. By doing the small things now, you can ensure that your son or daughter will have a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth for life.

Informational credit to www.familydentistsalinas.com

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want kids with great dental habits.

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  • Kayla Rogers March 1, 2016, 3:52 pm

    I think one of the most effective methods for encouraging good oral hygiene in kids is to make brushing fun! Also, if kids see you practicing good dental hygiene, they will be more likely to think of it as important. That’s why I always try to schedule my own dentist appointments at the same time or right before my kids’ appointments, so they can see me placing enough value in it to take time from my day!

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