The ABCs of Good Oral Hygiene for Kids
Share these important oral hygiene tips with your kids.
Maintaining oral hygiene is crucial for achieving optimal oral health, but it can be tricky for kids to remember how to care for their smiles.
Many kids and teens struggle with recurring tooth decay, in particular. The good news is the majority of cavities are completely preventable through a combo of great at-home oral hygiene habits and regular dentist check-ups.
Kick cavities to the curb by reading these oral hygiene ABCs with your kids. Not only will they learn important information about caring for their smile, but you just might learn a thing or two yourself!
Healthy Oral Hygiene ABCs for Kids and Teens
Always brush twice a day, especially before bedtime. This ensures cavity-causing bacteria won’t be making trouble while you sleep.
Brush for two minutes and be sure to reach every tooth. Using a timer is a great way to make sure you’re brushing for long enough.
Cavities love sugar and sweets as much as you do. It’s OK to have a treat every now and then, but having them every day can cause tooth decay.
Drink plenty of water during the day and after snacks. Staying hydrated is important for your body, your brain, and your smile!
Eat healthy, crunchy vegetables and fruits every day. Crunchy, fresh produce naturally cleans your teeth and gives you important vitamins.
Floss once a day or whenever you have food stuck in your teeth. If you haven’t flossed during the day, make sure you floss every tooth before your bedtime brushing.
Get a new toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick. If your toothbrush looks worn and frayed before three months have passed, buy a new one and practice brushing more gently.
Hold your toothbrush gently and don’t press too hard on your teeth. You don’t need a lot of force to brush your teeth effectively. In fact, brushing too hard can hurt your teeth and gums.
If you have a sweet treat, finish it quickly and clean your teeth. The less time sugar is on your teeth and in your mouth, the less time bacteria have to start weakening your tooth enamel.
Just brushing isn’t the same as brushing and flossing. It’s important to always brush and floss. Floss removes plaque and food debris in between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Keep your toothbrush clean and rinse it off after using it. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush off until there is no toothpaste left. Then place it in a safe, clean spot where it can air dry.
Looking in the mirror can help you brush and floss more easily. It can be hard to brush when you first start learning. Watching yourself in the mirror can help and it’s fun!
Milk is tasty and helps you grow strong, healthy teeth. Having milk during meals or even as a snack fills your tummy and helps your teeth and bones stay strong.
Never be afraid to ask your dentist questions about teeth. They can teach you really cool things about your teeth and how you can take care of them at home.
Opening things with your teeth is a big no-no. Use your hands, safety scissors, or ask an adult for help to open things like snacks. Remember, teeth aren’t tools!
Playing contact sports means wearing a mouthguard. A mouthguard might feel funny, but it helps protect your teeth when you’re having fun with friends or your teammates.
Quick brushing isn’t effective brushing. Even though you might be in a rush, it only takes two minutes to brush your teeth properly.
Reading about teeth can help you learn more about your own. Ask your parents to help you find interesting books about teeth and oral hygiene for your age.
Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the best type to use. They are gentle on your teeth and gums.
Toothaches should never be ignored. If your tooth hurts or feels funny, there might be a problem. Always tell your parents.
Use fluoride toothpaste every time you brush. Fluoride helps prevent cavities and keeps tooth enamel strong.
Visit your dentist every six months. They will take a look at your smile to make sure there aren’t any cavities hiding and you’ll get to relax as a dental hygienist deep cleans your teeth.
Wash your mouth with a fluoride mouth rinse. Mouth rinse is a great way to finish your brushing and flossing routine. Even though it might taste good, always spit it out!
X-rays show a cool picture of what your smile looks like. Your dentist can show you your X-rays during your visit so you can see what your teeth and jawbone look like.
Your dentist is your best friend when it comes to a healthy smile. You can trust them to take good care of you, but if you do feel a little nervous, that’s OK too! You can tell them if you feel worried and they’ll help you feel more relaxed, just like you’d help your own friend who was nervous.
Zoning your smile can help you brush better. If you keep getting cavities in the same spots, you might be missing them when brushing. A handy tip is to break your smile into zones, like the upper front teeth, back front teeth, and the same for the lower teeth. Go through each zone in your head while brushing so you don’t forget an area.
A Note for Parents
Your child’s oral health is important for their overall health and well-being. Oral hygiene can start at home even before your baby’s teeth have all arrived. You can start getting them accustomed to regular oral hygiene by using a damp washcloth to wipe their gums or, once a few baby teeth have arrived, a soft infant toothbrush.
Tooth decay is the most prevalent oral issue in children and teens. It’s also one of the most preventable. Begin teaching your kids healthy habits at an early age and you’ll find that they stick throughout adolescence and into adulthood.
Aside from routine six-monthly visits, it’s also important to schedule an orthodontic evaluation by their 7th birthday. We provide these at River Walk Dental as well.
Kid-Friendly and Family-Focused Dentistry in Flower Mound, TX
River Walk Dental is a family dentistry practice that welcomes kids of all ages. We provide complete pediatric dental care for babies as young as six months up through age 18. After age 18, your teen can continue visiting us as an adult patient since we are a general dentistry practice. This is a win-win situation for parents and helps teens/young adults continue prioritizing their oral health even after they’ve flown the nest. You can schedule an appointment for yourself or your child today by calling our office or requesting a visit online.