The best place for a child to learn about dental care is at home with their parents. Children follow the lead of the adults in their lives. Your daily actions and conversations will influence the child from an early age. So, it is important to teach them when they are young, so that good dental habits are carried into adulthood.
Regular brushing and flossing habits are essential to maintain healthy gums and prevent tooth decay. But, children don’t understand the importance of these habits unless they are taught by their parents. One of the best things that you can do to help your child learn about good oral hygiene is leading by example.
Demonstration and Observation While Brushing
Dental care is needed from the moment the first few teeth start peeking through the gums. For the first two years, you need to clean your child’s teeth because the child doesn’t have the coordination to do it themselves. Don’t use toothpaste until the child is old enough to know that they shouldn’t swallow it.
It is important to make sure that you are using the right dental tools. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. You will find child-size brushes at the store. You might consider the option to let them pick a fun toothbrush, so they are excited about the color or design.
As the child gets older, they will want to do the brushing on their own. Consider a dual strategy where you brush their teeth for a minute, and then give them an opportunity to practice. During this time, make sure to teach the child the proper techniques that need to be used.
How to Hold and Move the Toothbrush
When you are brushing your child’s teeth, use verbal cues to help them understand what you are doing. For example, you can talk about the way you hold the toothbrush and how you move it through the mouth. Explaining these steps will teach the child the right methods, then they can practice gaining mastery.
It is important to brush every surface of each tooth. Angle the toothbrush in a direction so that it meets the gum line. Move the brush gently to avoid over-irritation to the gums. Using a circular motion helps to reach all areas of the teeth.
Regular Dental Exams
In addition to the lessons that are learned at home, it is also essential to schedule regular dental exams. Not only will the child learn more about dental health, but our team can identify potential dental problems in the early stages. For more information, call us at Riverstone Pediatric Dentistry.