The Building Blocks of Healthy Oral Health Habits

Teaching Your Little One to Care for Their Teeth

As parents, you already know the importance of strong, healthy teeth. The mouth is the gateway to the entire body, and our teeth and gums are kind of like the gatekeepers. They not only look good when we smile, but they help us speak and eat and promote good health overall. But our little ones certainly may not know this!

To children, teeth are just the tools that let them eat all those yummy snacks they love so much. In infants and babies, they’re nuisances that cause them pain when they first try to erupt through their gums. But no matter how a child sees their teeth, one thing is for certain: they need to grow big and strong right alongside them. And they need YOUR help to make that happen. Here’s what you can do:

Start Early

Children are ready for their first dental appointment by the time they are 12 months old, or 6 months after their first tooth erupts. While they certainly won’t understand who the dentist is at this age, early visits can help them form a positive relationship with the office and become more receptive to dental habits sooner.

Lead By Example

It’s possible that your little one already follows you around like your own little shadow. Kids learn by watching, which means you need to practice what you preach. It isn’t enough to tell your kids they need to brush and floss their teeth; you should make sure they see you doing it, too. While you’re at it, you can…

Make Oral Hygiene Fun
No one ever said caring for your teeth and gums had to be boring! Create games to play with your child while you brush. Let them pick out their own special toothbrushes at the store. Play music during your routine. Whatever will keep them interested is a great way to help them maintain their good habits. 

Limit Sugary Snacks and Drinks

This one isn’t just a good oral hygiene tip, it’s a good overall tip. Excess sugar intake will not only lead to health complications as your child grows, but it will also lead to increased risk of tooth decay. Your little one’s teeth are far more sensitive to decay, so healthy snacks like fruit and especially water are ideal for everyday consumption. 

Reward Good Behavior 

When your child is brushing and flossing properly, that’s a reason to celebrate! Positive reinforcement will let your child know they’re doing a good job and help them feel extra proud to keep their teeth healthy. Plus, a little reward here and there makes both parents and kids happy! 

So What’s Next?

Routines, proper techniques, education…there is so much more that can go into a good oral health routine. But as long as your child understands the importance of a healthy smile and is making good progress by brushing their teeth twice a day, they’re right on track for developing good oral hygiene habits. 

Need a little boost? The Weis Dental team is ready to help you and your family. As your partners in comprehensive emergency dental care services for children in the Greater Hampton Roads area, including Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake, VA, we will always be here to help you smile!