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5 Important Ways Parents Can Ensure Their Children's Oral Health

The habits you build as a child and young adult influence you for the rest of your life. This includes preventive dental care and how you brush/floss your teeth. It's important for parents to encourage good oral health in their children to ensure the health of their teeth as they grow older. 

At Today's Dentistry in San Jose, California, Dr. Peter K. Lee is a kid-friendly dentist who teaches parents how to care for their children's teeth and build good brushing and flossing habits. He also gives parents advice on how to minimize dental anxiety, and explains the importance of regular cleanings and examinations. 

How to build good habits in children 

Many parents make a habit of asking their children if they brushed their teeth, but how many children actually make a habit of doing it? And when they do brush their teeth themselves, do they do it correctly? Do they consider brushing their teeth an unpleasant chore instead of a beneficial necessity? 

Getting off on the right foot with an at-home dental routine can help children gain a better understanding of dental care and develop good oral health habits. If you're not sure where to begin, here are a few tips on building a good relationship between your child and dental hygiene. 

Give them some control 

While it's tempting to choose the best toothbrush and toothpaste available and simply give them to your child, it's important to let your child have some degree of control over the process. This way, they can learn how to care for themselves properly and become more independent regarding their own hygiene. 

Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste flavor from a range of high quality choices themselves, and buy them accessories like a toothbrush case and rinsing cup to go with it. Give them choices, and get them excited about brushing and flossing. 

Gentle, helpful reminders

Children don't always have the capacity to understand how something slightly unpleasant can benefit them. Instead of being harsh with them about brushing their teeth or punishing them when they don't, gently remind them when they wake up or go to bed. 

Make up a game or story

This is a common learning technique. Create a game or story to explain how brushing and flossing defeats plaque and bacteria, and reward them for brushing their teeth when they do it correctly. 

Make going to the dentist fun 

Pediatric dentists are trained in dealing with children. However, if your child is already stressed or anxious about the dentist, calming them down will be harder. 

Children don't usually remember the specifics of certain events, they remember emotions. By associating the dentist with positive feelings instead of anxiety, you're encouraging a healthier relationship with dental professionals in adulthood.

Supervise them 

Children under the age of eight should be supervised while brushing their teeth to make sure they're using the correct techniques and not swallowing toothpaste. 

Even if you're just standing in the doorway, your presence can encourage kids to be more thorough with their brushing. If you encourage them to brush correctly during their early childhood, they'll continue to do it when you're not present. 

Having a good dentist on your side is important, too. Your child's experiences with a dentist will shape how they think of dentists as an adult, so choosing the right one is important. Your dentist should be patient, understanding, and informative. 

If your child needs a cleaning, checkup, or lesson in oral hygiene, Dr. Lee and his team at Today's Dentistry can give them a well-rounded, positive experience. To schedule a visit, call 408-412-3820 or request an appointment online.  

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