Did you know that proper education is the biggest motivator for maintaining good oral hygiene? Regardless of age, people are more willing to take care of their teeth and gums when they know some of the risks that come with neglecting dental care. The goal is to make it simple and fun, which helps kids and adults easily maintain oral hygiene. Here are some great dental care tips for the whole family!

Maintain oral hygiene
Maintain oral hygiene

1. Make it fun

We understand that brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist is not exactly the highlight of your day, which is why it’s important to add a bit of fun to the task. If you have young children, we recommend:

  • Letting them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Playing a song or two-minute video about brushing your teeth
  • Create a fun daily chart that they can place a sticker on when they complete their dental hygiene routine
  • Offer a small reward at the end of the week for consistently brushing and flossing

2. Practice good brushing techniques

To demonstrate proper brushing techniques, we recommend making a pretend model of the teeth and gums with playdough or craft paper as a way to teach your child how to brush properly. Have them pretend to teach you, another member of the family, or their stuffed animals. Relaying the information back to someone else helps retain their memory and lets you know that they understand what you’ve taught them!

Below is an example of good brushing techniques:

  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle
  • Use short, gentle strokes
  • Focus on one or two teeth at a time
  • Avoid brushing side to side

3. Eat nutritious food and limit sugary foods

Children are susceptible to cavities, simply because they consume more sugary foods and don’t maintain oral hygiene as consistently as adults. It can be hard to limit the amount of sugar that children eat and involving them in the process of choosing more nutritious foods can help empower them with the right tools.

Before a grocery trip or start of a school week, give them the following choices:

  • Would you like cheese or carrots with dip for a snack?
  • Would you like apples or strawberries today?
  • Do you prefer cucumbers or celery this week?

The above are just a few examples of healthier alternatives to sugary and starchy snacks. By giving your child choices on which healthy snack to choose from, they can still feel empowered and less “deprived” of unhealthy food!

4. Visit the dentist together

To help your child associate a positive connection with the dentist and good oral hygiene, be sure to schedule a routine check-up rather than treatment for a dental emergency or serious problem. Regular visits to the dentist helps reduce the anxiety and nervousness that many children have about the dentist’s office.

We also recommend taking your child to your own dental appointments, which will allow them to see you calm and ready for a routine check. After all, leading by example is a great way to instill good dental care for the whole family!

Medically reviewed by Dr. Gurshant Grew - D.D.S. on April 29, 2021

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