Healthy SmilesOctober 11, 2018
Dental hygiene is important to kids’ health, but brushing can be anything but easy. Check out our tips to create good habits at different ages.
Teeth commonly first appear between 6 and 12 months. At this age, it can be hard to make your child stay still, but it’s when you should start taking care of their teeth. Avoid juice, but introduce water with fluoride (tap or bottled) at 6 months. Infants should begin having their teeth brushed before bed using infant toothbrushes (or your finger).
At one year, children should begin having their teeth brushed twice a day. Continue to avoid too much juice to help with their overall dental hygiene. At this age, children might need more distraction: try singing a favorite song while you brush to calm them down and make the time pass quickly. You can also let your child brush for a few seconds and then take your turn. The back and forth makes brushing teeth a game, rather than a struggle.
After 18 Months
Between 18 months and 2 years of age, visiting a dentist for an initial exam and assessment will catch any early cavities. Since the dentist can be hard for kids this age, you can practice playing dentist at home so they become more comfortable with the idea, and focus on the positive. Set a calm tone and use soothing techniques like touch, song, counting or a special toy to keep children feeling safe and reassured.
At this age, it’s important to minimize exposure to gummy or sticky candies, since they can quickly cause cavities. Toddlers are all about independence, so giving them more freedom in the activity can get them excited about brushing. Let them choose a fun flavored toothpaste or use a timer so they know when to start and stop.
For more tips on oral health for children, click here.