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Back to School: Helping Kids With Dental Hygiene

Back to School: Helping Kids With Dental Hygiene

Publish date:     Author: with insights from Pooneh Ram, DDS and Dr. Paris Sabo
Topics: dental care,  gums,  kids,  mouthwash,  teeth,  toothpaste,  

Educating your kids about the importance of oral health, and proper cleaning techniques helps create a dental care routine that they can continue into adulthood. Here are some tips on to how to support your kids oral care habits:

  1. Your children will respond surprisingly well to a consistent routine. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with them after breakfast and before bed at night will help your kids maintain good oral care habits.
  2. Many kids don't have a concept of time, so play one of their favorite 2-minute songs they can brush their teeth to or get them a soft-bristle toothbrush with a timer. Afterwards, remind them to brush their tongue.
  3. Inform your little ones about the dental products they are using. Share with them the ingredients in their toothpaste and mouthwash, and how they work to keep teeth and gums clean.
  4. Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste in their lunchbox so they can brush their teeth after lunch. We know this may be asking a lot, but it can make a big difference – especially if they have a spacer or braces.
  5. If you're kids won't brush while at school, encourage them to rinse with water after eating. This will remove any food left on or between their teeth.
  6. Invite your older children to help the younger ones brush and floss. Siblings often look up to each other and emulate what they see.
  7. Make and keep dentist appointments. No child, or adult, can keep their mouth cavity-free without professional assistance. Your kid's dentist will also check oral hygiene efforts as well as monitor tooth development.

Tips for preparing your kids for the dentist:
It's highly recommended that your child sees the dentist for the first time before their first birthday, and then every six months for a professional cleaning. Here are some tips to make sure their visits go smoothly:

  • Explain what will take place during the visit, and never discuss your own negative dental experiences.
  • Schedule the appointment for a time your child will be well-rested and cooperative.
  • Consider packing a bag with a book or their favorite toy to make the visit easier.
  • Allow your children to express their concerns about seeing the dentist, and offer words of encouragement.  

For additional reading, check out How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Your Children.

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