How to Instill Good Oral Hygiene For Children's Dental Health Month

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Healthy dental habits start at home and at a young age. Strong, healthy teeth are a vital part of your child's overall health. As they develop, teeth help your child eat, talk, and grow. The care that goes into your child's teeth and gums begins with you, along with regular dental visits for checkups. February is National Children's Dental Health Month and a great time to highlight the many benefits of establishing proper oral hygiene at home.

At Gibson Dental Care, our dedicated staff and expert dentists offer comprehensive and preventive family dentistry in a caring, safe environment at our dental facility in Lancaster, PA. Learn how to make dental care fun for kids and be the first line of defense against tooth decay and more.

When does my child's oral health care start?

Nearly one in five children under the age of five experience tooth decay issues. However, it is preventable by starting your children young and establishing a consistent daily routine at home. The care that goes into your child's teeth and gums begins with you and should start before they get their first tooth. Parents can wipe their baby's gums with a soft washcloth after each feeding and make sure they don't fall asleep with a bottle to prevent tooth decay. As soon as a child's baby teeth begin to emerge, around 6 – 8 months, parents should schedule their first dental visit.

Helpful tips on establishing oral health care for children

Children need to develop good dental habits, so they'll maintain them into adulthood. Children generally have all their baby or primary teeth by the age of three. They will begin to fall out around age six, allowing for adult or permanent teeth to start coming in. Most children have all their permanent teeth by the age of 13. One of the best ways to help your child embrace taking care of their teeth is to make it fun. With this mindset, your child can practice good oral health care with you and have healthy teeth. Here are some helpful ways to make dental care fun for children:

  • Watch fun videos or read books about how to brush your teeth.
  • Let your child pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste at the store.
  • Make up a fun tooth brushing song with them.
  • Brush your teeth at the same time to help them mimic what you are doing.
  • Use a special timer to make sure they brush for two minutes.
  • Implement a reward system so your child will continue to brush and floss regularly.

Brushing and flossing for healthy teeth at home

Healthy teeth and gums are crucial to prevent future dental problems. Your child's oral health care should begin as a baby. Start using a soft child-size toothbrush around the age of one and brush with water or toothpaste without fluoride at least twice a day. Once your child is old enough to spit, you can switch to one with fluoride. Your child will likely start brushing their teeth independently with supervision around the age of seven or eight. This is a great time to teach your child how to floss at least once a day. Flossing is a vital part of your child's oral health care. Buy floss that comes with a handle to make it easier and more fun for kids.

Are you looking for family dentistry in Lancaster, PA?

The foundation of proper oral hygiene begins at an early age. Be sure your child knows to brush their teeth before bed and after eating or drinking. Limit sugary foods and try to have healthy snacks. Parents should take an active role in solidifying healthy teeth at home by establishing a good dental routine and making it fun for their kids. At Gibson Dental Care, our team of skilled dentists and dental hygienists are dedicated to assisting you with your child's oral health care needs. If you need a family dentist, contact our office in Lancaster, PA or set up a consultation online today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.