Your children’s oral health is an important part of their overall wellbeing. Teaching them how to properly take care of their teeth and gums can help develop good dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime!
Dental Hygiene Starts Early
Good dental hygiene starts at a young age. Did you know that babies are born with ALL of their teeth? They’re all hidden under the gums, but you can still promote good oral health habits before that first tooth breaks through:
- Wiping baby’s gums with a soft, wet cloth after feeding to remove harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
- As soon as the first tooth comes in, it’s important to brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day or after each meal.
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. Tooth decay can occur when milk, formula, or juice stay in your child’s mouth for a long period of time, such as overnight.
- Once your child’s first tooth comes in they can get dental varnish (also called fluoride varnish), which can be done by your PCG provider.
- Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. Fluoride varnish is made with fluoride, a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel. Learn more about fluoride varnish.
A Good Foundation Lasts A Lifetime
As your children get older, dental hygiene habits will need to change. Most children have all of their baby teeth by the age of 3 and start losing them by the age of 6. Most kids have all of their permanent teeth around the age of 13. You may have to help your child with even the simplest of oral hygiene tasks, but helping them get the job done right will keep their teeth healthy for years to come. Promote good dental hygiene as kids get older by having them:
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride when brushing
- Brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day
- Start flossing as soon as teeth touch, or even earlier to help build good habits
- Visit the dentist every 6 months
Keeping Teeth Looking Good
As your kids grow into preteens and teens, it’s important to remind them to keep up good oral hygiene habits. In addition to the foundation you laid for them as younger children:
- Make sure children who play sports are properly fitted with a mouthguard to protect teeth from injury.
- If your child wears braces, make sure they brush well and are especially attentive to flossing to avoid discoloration when braces are removed.
- Remind teens and preteens that having clean teeth and fresh breath can be a major confidence booster.