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How to Get Your Kids to Start Brushing and Flossing Their Teeth

Good oral hygiene for your children should start even before teeth come in. But once those teeth start showing up, what’s the best way to start brushing? And when your children are old enough to use a toothbrush on their own, what’s the best way to make sure they brush correctly?

Park Dental’s children’s dental care experts have some tips to help establish healthy habits early.

Good Oral Health for Babies and Toddlers

Your children can experience tooth decay as soon as their baby teeth start coming through their gums. After your baby is a few days old, you should start wiping their gums twice daily with gauze or a clean washcloth to ensure good gum health.

Most children start getting teeth around 6 months old, but the process takes up to a year. 

Once teeth do show up, use a small children’s toothbrush and water or a tiny amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, to brush their teeth twice a day, depending on your dentist’s advice. When two teeth start touching each other, begin using dental floss. And don’t forget to take your child to the dentist every six months after the first tooth appears.

Good Oral Hygiene for Older Kids

Once children can brush and floss their own teeth, have them use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride in it to brush in the morning and evening. Gentle flossing is recommended at least once a day to help remove food and plaque. Around 1 in 5 kids between ages 5 and 11 have an untreated cavity, so it’s crucial to keep up with your child’s regular dental visits, too.

How to Make Brushing Fun!

While some kids love brushing their teeth, other kids find the habit hard to stick with. Your child’s feelings about brushing are often likely to change several times as they get older. For best results, try to make your oral hygiene routine fun.

Let your child pick out a toothbrush in his or her favorite color or with a favorite character on it.

  • Play a fun song and have a dance party while brushing
  • Brush your teeth together as a family
  • Read a story to your child while he or she brushes and flosses
  • Check out library books that show characters brushing their teeth
  • Reward routine brushing with fun stickers, high fives or whatever motivates your little one.

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