Childhood is a time for learning, exploring, and developing good habits that will last a lifetime. This is especially true for oral health–it’s never too early to start building tooth care habits for your little ones. Children’s brushing and flossing is a vital step in both their journey towards independence and in ensuring that their bright and happy smiles will last a lifetime. As a parent, it’s important to know both what to teach your children about brushing and flossing and some ways to make it fun and effective for them. With that in mind, here are some tips regarding what you need to know about children’s brushing habits.
Brushing needs to be a regular habit, and one of the first steps in teaching your kids about brushing and flossing is teaching them when and how often to do it. Many parents find the 2×2 rule useful: brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. This is an easy to remember way for little ones to build important oral health care habits, giving them a foundation you can later build upon.
An easy way to introduce children into brushing is to use dental care products that are appropriate for children. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy: a child-sized toothbrush with a colorful design will fit their little hands better and give them something fun to focus on. Likewise, children’s toothpaste with nicer flavors and colorful labels are an inexpensive way to engage your children with the process. Letting them pick out their own brush and toothpaste can help, too!
As with so many things in childhood, parental involvement is key. Introduce your children to brushing their teeth by doing it with them. Show them how you do it and then guide them through the process so they understand what and how they need to brush. For little ones just getting started, a little guidance and support coupled with a good role model can go a long way towards helping the learning process along.
As important as parental involvement is for building and developing children’s brushing habits, building independence is also important. It’s hard to say when and how to let go of the reins, but gradually introducing more and more independence to your children’s brushing and flossing is important. This is what makes brushing and flossing an established lifelong habit, something that your child will do on their own through their teenage years and into adulthood. Letting go can be hard for a lot of parents–brushing your teeth together was fun for both of you!–but the goal of good parenting is to help your children grow up to be the best person they can be. Helping them gain independence in self-care is part of that.
Children’s dental care is always a complex issue, and even a great parent needs some help every now and then. A supportive dentist who knows children and their care issues can help you through the process via good education, regular appointments for exams and cleanings, and more. If you’re a parent with questions about your little one’s oral health, get in touch with us today, and make an appointment. We’re here to help!