Mom and daughter brushing teeth togetherTrying to get your kids excited about taking care of their teeth may feel more like pulling teeth. You hope that they will enjoy their pearly whites for life, but you know their beloved sweets and treats will ruin that hope if they don’t develop good oral hygiene habits.

Luckily, at Stetson Hills Dental, we’re here to help! In honor of Children’s Dental Hygiene Month this February, we’ve got some tips and tricks for getting your kids engaged in their oral care routines, as well as our recommended pediatric dental health guide.

Pediatric Oral Health Crash Course

Oral health is important from as early as a baby’s first days. Before their teeth erupt, be sure to wipe their gums using a cloth or piece of gauze twice a day. Once their teeth emerge, you can switch over to using a soft-bristled brush that’s specifically made for young children.

Keep in mind these other dentist-approved recommendations for building a strong foundation for dental health:

  • Limit your child’s consumption of sugary and starchy foods and instead, teach them to eat a balanced diet
  • When your child’s first tooth makes an appearance, begin taking them to the dentist within the following six months. From then on, continue to take them every six months.
  • Don’t forget the floss! Daily flossing will help remove build-up between teeth that brushing alone can’t reach.
  • As with adults, children’s teeth should be brushed twice daily. For kids six-years-old and younger, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste will do.
  • Once your child has started brushing their own teeth, make sure they’re doing a proper job of cleaning both their front teeth and back molars.
  • Don’t let plaque accumulate and harden into tartar. Once it’s been left for too long, only a dental professional can remove it—making your child’s next dentist appointment more unpleasant than it needs to be.

The promise of cavity-free teeth likely won’t be enough to motivate your kids to follow these techniques and guidelines. You’ll see better results if you can make their dental hygiene routine fun!

Getting Your Kids Excited About Dental Hygiene

  1. Toothy Activities: Teach your children about dental health in a way that feels more like play by using teeth-related crafts and activities. Use these to start with.
  2. Kid-Friendly Supplies: What’s better to a kid than a plain toothbrush? One with their favorite superhero or cartoon character on it! Bonus points if they get to use yummy flavored toothpaste.
  3. Sing-Along: Did you know there are a ton of songs about oral hygiene out there? This playlist may help give you some inspiration.
  4. Lead by Example: Tell your child how much you love brushing your teeth every day and let them watch you do it. They may end up wanting to join you.
  5. Reward Them: Rewarding good habits will give them the motivation to continue and help them associate brushing with positive outcomes. Try offering prizes like a trip to the park, a gift certificate or a playdate with a friend.

Although February is just one month, children’s dental hygiene is important every day of the year. Start using these tips this month to set your kids’ teeth up for success so they last for many more years to come!