The key to creating good brushing and oral care habits is to implement values and practices very early in your child’s life. Here are 4 steps you can take to prepare your child to have good dental health and routines.
- Brush Before You See Teeth
In infancy, it is important to help your child become used to oral stimulation and dental hygiene, even if teeth have yet to surface. One way to do this is by taking a washcloth and lightly washing the inside of the baby’s mouth with your forefinger.
By doing this, you are providing an age-appropriate hygiene session and training your baby to enjoy (and expect) teeth and gum cleanings after meals. Additionally, you are breaking up the buildup of milk, formula, juice, and harmful plaque.
- Remove Sitting Sugars
While it is lovely to see a child drink a bottle and fall asleep, it is highly detrimental to their oral health. The natural sugars from milk and juices sit in the bottle’s nipple, slowly leaking and pooling in the baby’s mouth as they fall asleep, and contributing to early childhood tooth decay. When you see your child falling asleep, remove their bottle or switch to water.
- Introduce Water Early On
Infants and toddlers get quite used to their milk and juice supply, often vetoing water at any chance they can get. Try to introduce water earlier on so that they can receive the benefits of hydrating and rinsing after eating.
- Brush Together
To continue training your child to be comfortable with the toothbrush, practice brushing their teeth together. When you allow them to have fun faux-brushing and then take a turn to do it for them properly, it becomes a fun activity that your child looks forward to participating in. You can also add fun flavored toothpastes or bright toothbrushes to make teeth brushing more attractive.
If you have children at home, try creating a fun routine with them. Introduce more water, perhaps starting off with a water-juice mixture for transitioning, and talk to your child about the importance of good dental hygiene.