Teaching your child proper dental care in their younger years is an investment in their health that will pay off in their latter years. Start by setting an example; taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued.
To help your child protect their teeth and gums, teach them to these simple habits:
- Brushing twice a day to remove plaque-the sticky film on teeth that’s the main cause of tooth decay.
- Flossing daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under the gum line, before it can harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that limits starchy or sugary foods, which produce plaque acids that cause tooth decay.
- Use dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste.
- Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups.
Supervising your children until they get the hang of these steps may be a good idea:
- Use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Teach your child not to swallow the toothpaste.
- Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the inside surface of each tooth first, where plaque may accumulate most. Brush gently back and forth.
- Clean the outer surfaces of each tooth. Angle the brush along the outer gumline. Gently brush back and forth.
- Brush the chewing surface of each tooth. Gently brush back and forth.
- Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth, both top and bottom.
- Don’t forget to brush the tongue.