Make it a fun routine

Instilling good dental hygiene in children is very important. Just like looking both ways before crossing the street and coughing into their sleeves, good oral hygiene should be instilled in kids’ daily routines from an early age. As adults, brushing and flossing are ingrained as part of your daily routine. But it’s not that way for your kids. Staff members at Big Grins in Fort Collins say kids need to be shown the proper way to care for their teeth so they will develop good dental habits.

Big Grins staffers suggest the following for helping children develop a good oral care routine that will last a lifetime.

Let them select their supplies

Let kids choose a toothbrush and toothpaste. Whether they’re choosing based on color, a favorite character, or something else, kids’ toothbrushes and pastes are meant to be fun. If your family can swing the extra dollar(s), challenge yourself to give in to the more expensive, but more fun options.  Just remember kids younger than 3 shouldn’t use a toothpaste that contains fluoride because fluoride ought not to be swallowed.

Lead by example

Kids do what parents and older siblings do; so be sure all family members brush and floss their teeth each morning and night. When little kids see oral hygiene as a part of your daily routine, they’ll naturally want to make it part pf their own. When it’s possible brush together (at least the kids if you have more than one) so it becomes a group activity. And remember, until your kids are at least 6 or 7, they’ll need some help brushing to ensure their teeth are properly cleaned.

Establish a routine

Everyone should brush their teeth in the morning and before bed. For kids, setting a timer helps them get accustomed to brushing without being asked as well as knowing how long to brush. Additionally, stress the importance of brushing after eating candy and sugary snacks; this removes food and bacteria from teeth, helping to prevent decay and erosion.

Use songs as timers

Make brushing fun with songs. Look for silly songs about brushing on the Internet you can sing while brushing. Or, let kids listen to their favorite song as they brush. Tell them they need to keep brushing until the song is over to be certain they brush long enough to clean their teeth adequately. Two minutes brushing time is recommended.

Make it a teachable moment

If your child does get a cavity and must have it filled, make sure he or she recognizes the need to improve oral care as a result. Going to the dentist should never feel like a punishment, but be certain your child recognizes that cavities can usually be avoided if they’re taking proper care of their teeth and gums.

Get routine dental care

Everyone in the family needs to have regular dental checkups to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy. Visit your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and exams.