Developing Good Dental Hygiene In Kids

One of the best ways to ensure that your children avoid dental issues in the future is to start them out with great dental hygiene habits. If your kids grow up knowing how to properly care for their teeth, they can avoid cavities and other problems down the road. Just as importantly, you will help them avoid having a fear of the dentist. Here are some of the best ways to instill strong dental hygiene habits in your children:

Keep It Fun

Whether showing your kids how to brush their teeth, getting them to floss, or taking them to the dentist for the first time, it's important to keep things fun. By presenting dental care in an upbeat, enthusiastic manner, you will teach your children to associate dental care with happy feelings instead of stress or anxiety. Making a big deal of teeth brushing time and enthusiastically letting them know what a good job they're doing will go a long way toward instilling good dental habits.

Get Them to Like the Dentist

There is no real reason for children to fear the dentist, and yet many do. An important aspect of helping your children avoid this fear, and even look forward to the dentist, is your own attitude. If children sense that the dentist stresses you out, they are more likely to worry about it themselves. Instead, explain what the dentist does in positive, kid-friendly terms, such as "The dentist is going to make your teeth sparkling clean and bright!"

Choose a dentist who has a great deal of experience with children, and praise your child for being well-behaved during their dentist appointment.

Reward Them for a Job Well Done

In order to help your children feel motivated to take care of their teeth, you may want to set up a reward system. For example, make a reward chart and let them put a fun sticker on the appropriate day each time they brush their teeth. When they get a certain amount of stickers (determined by you), they get to pick out a small toy or other treat from a stash of rewards.

A reward chart for brushing teeth and flossing can even be combined with one for their chores and other responsibilities, helping you motivate your kids to engage in a variety of responsible actions at once.

Let Them Choose

When kids get to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste, they feel more attached to the process of caring for their teeth. In addition, a lot of kids dislike the traditional flavors of toothpaste but respond more favorably to kid-friendly toothpaste flavors such as bubblegum. Letting them pick out tasty toothpaste plus a fun, colorful toothbrush, perhaps featuring their favorite cartoon character, will help make tooth brushing time one of their favorite parts of the day.

Set a Timer

It's recommended that kids brush their teeth for two solid minutes, twice a day. While two minutes may not seem like a long time to an adult, to a restless little kid it can feel like eternity. To make sure they actually brush their teeth for the full amount of time, you can teach them how to set a timer, either on a cell phone, a watch, or even using an old-fashioned egg timer. Another idea is to let them watch fun, kid-friendly videos that last about two minutes and have been compiled specifically to entertain kids while they brush their teeth.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your children grow up with healthy teeth and gums, and a non-fearful attitude toward the dentist and oral care. For more tips and information about your child's dental health, contact a local clinic or visit