According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have tooth decay. Teaching your kids to have good dental hygiene at an early age can help your kids be among those who don’t have tooth decay. Some parents think that, since baby teeth eventually fall out, they don’t have to worry much about cavities with them. However, unhealthy baby teeth can lead to unhealthy adult teeth as well. Insufficiently cared-for baby teeth can also lead to your child’s adult teeth growing in crooked or out of alignment, causing painful and/or expensive treatment later in life. The face shape of your child is also affected by their first adult teeth, so good oral health when young can impact more than just their teeth, but also their face shape and the health of their adult teeth. If you are in Las Vegas or Henderson, contact Anthem Pediatric Dentistry to schedule a check-up and for more advice on ensuring your child has healthy teeth!
When to Start Brushing
Oral hygiene should start at a young age. An infant’s mouth can be cleaned after every meal. Simply cradle their head in one hand while using your free hand to wipe their mouth with a wet cloth or xylitol wipe. As soon as their teeth start to come in, they can be brushed.
Brushing is important early on, as bacteria and acid (which damages teeth) can build up otherwise. In particular, brushing before bedtime will prevent build-up and damage from substances such as:
- Sugary drinks
Help Your Child Brush Properly
At around 2 years old, your child may be ready to start brushing their own teeth. Transitioning to this is not always easy, but, with the following tips, we’re sure your toddler will be brushing their own teeth in no time!
#1: Show Them!
The obvious first step to teaching them to brush their own teeth is to show them how it’s done. Before giving them the responsibility of doing it all themselves, show them how to do it in front of a mirror and explain what you are doing to keep their attention.
They’re not going to be master teeth-brushers from their first attempt. Don’t be afraid to hold their hand and brush their teeth together the first few times while they get the hang of it.
#3: Lead By Example
Brush your teeth every morning and evening yourself, as part of your routine. If they see you doing it, they will be more likely to want to learn too, so they can prove that they are grown up like you!
#4: Take Turns
If their teeth aren’t getting clean enough when they brush on their own, you can transition them into brushing their teeth by taking turns, with you brushing for them once during the day and them brushing before bed. That way, they keep getting a refresher on how to do it properly.
#5: Make It Fun
Lastly, be sure to avoid treating brushing as a chore or as a punishment. Make brushing their teeth fun by playing music, creating a reward system, doing it with them, or letting them pick out their own toothpaste and toothbrush.
Here are some of the basic things you should focus on:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time
- Floss at least once a day
- Explain the importance of healthy teeth and gums
- Book regular dental visits
Teach Your Child to Brush Their Teeth Correctly
Hopefully you found some of these tips useful! Our pediatric dentist would be happy to provide you with more advice or tips for helping them learn how to brush their teeth better, and we’ll also make sure their teeth are growing in straight and get them the treatment they need so they grow up with great oral health! If you are looking for dentistry for children in Los Vegas or Henderson, reach out to Anthem Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule your appointment!