As a parent, you play a significant role in laying the foundation for your children’s dental health. When you encourage good dental habits early on, you set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. That’s why we wanted to discuss ways you can build this foundation of good oral health. Our practice sees patients as young as 3 years old, so we’re passionate about helping our littlest patients achieve great smiles.

Why Oral Health Matters Early On

Strong dental health practices should begin early in a child’s life. As babies, children’s primary teeth start growing and setting the foundation for their adult teeth later. That’s why it’s so important to emphasize brushing and dental care as early as possible. Starting these healthy habits young helps:

  • Prevent tooth decay that could lead to disease or tooth loss down the road
  • Build lifelong routines around oral hygiene rather than having to correct bad habits later
  • Make children comfortable seeing the dentist regularly so they learn good behaviors through positive experiences
  • Monitor for early signs of potential orthodontic issues that may need intervention
  • Ensure proper nutrition and growth by making it easier for children to chew and digest foods

Instilling daily hygiene habits and dental visits before the age of one normalizes their importance early on.

Ways to Make Oral Hygiene Habits Enjoyable for Kids

Now, let’s explore great ways to make tooth brushing and other positive dental care practices fun for your kids:

  1. Start Early.

Good oral hygiene habits can begin before your child even shows signs of teeth. Wipe down their gums with a soft cloth after feeding and before bed. Then, as soon as your baby’s first teeth appear, gently clean them with a soft infant toothbrush and a tiny dot of toothpaste. Start to floss as soon as two teeth touch together. You’ll need to continue helping brush and floss until around the age of 7 or 8. 

  1. Make it fun. 

Allow your child to pick out their own kid-friendly toothbrush featuring their favorite cartoon character, color, or design. Plus, a child’s electric toothbrush will help them stick to the recommended two-minute time for teeth brushing. You can even play two minutes of their favorite song while they brush to keep them motivated.

  1. Lead by example.

Children learn habits by watching their parents. So if they see you brushing your teeth properly twice daily, they’ll be more likely to follow suit. Consider making toothbrushing a family activity. Plus, you can even come into our practice for a dental checkup at the same time. It will help your child feel comfortable with cleanings and exams. Plus, everyone can talk about their dental experience.

  1. Offer Rewards

Start a reward chart for everyone to track their progress and offer rewards after a certain number of days. Treats like a sticker or a trip to their favorite place, like the park, can be simple. This positive reinforcement builds good habits. Also, when you need to change your toothbrush every few months, allow your child to choose theirs. It’s another way of treating them for good oral care habits!

  1. Schedule regular dental visits. 

Bringing your child in for a checkup is an important step. We see children as young as 3 years old and start with a friendly visit. We even have stickers to give them! Building enthusiasm around oral hygiene goes a long way toward kids having healthy teeth for many years. 

Encourage good dental habits by making an appointment for your little one and the whole crew. Call Andover Smiles in North Andover, MA today at 978-396-3935. You can also request an appointment online.