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Naturally, parents want to instill oral health and hygiene habits in their children that will last across their lifespan. Gum disease is far too common and can lead to other serious medical conditions and repercussions. The most effective way to combat this dental problem is simple- but it requires parents to model, encourage, and foster these habits in children, starting at a young age.

Instill these four habits in children:

Take Them Shopping  

Make it a ritual to take your child shopping for a new toothbrush or electric toothbrush head at least every three months. You may also replace these implements following any period of illness or sickness in the home, just to be safe. Let your child decide on the type and color toothbrush that they use; this practice will help make them feel invested in their dental hygiene and could spur fresh interest in oral health care. There is a wide range of toothbrush options out there, from brightly colored to fun characters- let them choose. This may also encourage them to brush more frequently at home, also, as it may seem like a bit more fun when using the brush that they chose.

Put on a Positive Spin  

Start early with regular dental visits. It is suggested that children should go to the dentist for their initial appointment by the time they celebrate their first birthday. Exposure to the dentist at a young age and positive memories of these routine visits could set the child up for regularly scheduled appointments throughout their life; often adults who avoid the dentist had fearful experiences when they were young. Try to groom your child to enjoy these visits as much as possible.

Go with an Electric Toothbrush  

Some kids may enjoy using an electric toothbrush, and it could be a more effective way for young children to brush their teeth. Talk to your child’s dentist as they may recommend going with electric if your child has had cavities or other dental issues. Whichever type of toothbrush you choose, make sure that you demonstrate and model proper brushing technique for your child to ensure they are not doing more harm than good. Some children may find an electric toothbrush to be a fun way to start their day, particularly those that play music or sounds.

Teach Brushing Early  

Get your child accustomed to brushing from a young age. While they may not be particularly effective at brushing before age six, parents can brush and coach brushing technique early-on. Make sure that they brush for around two minutes, after every meal or snack, when possible. Encourage them to rinse- even with plain water- after food and drink, also.  Kids mimic what they see, so brush with them.

Make sure that your child doesn’t fall victim to the serious repercussions of dental health issues by fostering good habits now. This includes regular visits to your dentist in Mt Pleasant, SC, at least annually, but ideally every six months. Implement these four habits at home with your kids and give them a head-start for good dental health and hygiene early.