Children who learn good dental hygiene habits early in life will have a better chance of enjoying healthy teeth later in life. But it can be difficult for many children to adopt good dental hygiene and maintain a regular schedule. As schedules change, like when children return to school, this can be even more challenging. These dental hygiene tips for kids can help kids keep their teeth clean, and help to make dental hygiene habits a bit more manageable.
5 Dental Hygiene Tips for Kids: How to Help Kids Keep Their Teeth Clean
1. Keep a Regular Schedule
Keeping a regular brushing and flossing schedule is one of the most important dental hygiene tips for kids. You can help kids keep their teeth clean by making brushing and flossing an automatic part of the day. Encourage kids to brush their teeth when they get up in the morning, and just before they go to bed.
If your schedule changed significantly when your kids returned to school, this might take an adjustment period. Be patient and stick to it. Good habits take time to develop, and consistency is more important than perfection.
2. Use Games or Music
The ideal amount of time to brush your teeth is about two minutes. Though this doesn’t seem like much time, this can be a lot to ask of young children. To help make brushing easier and more fun, try using games or music to pass the time. Try making a playlist with fun songs that are about two minutes long, and let your kids pick a song while they brush. Or, try using apps that make brushing teeth fun.
3. Brush Together
One of the best dental hygiene tips for kids is to first practice good dental hygiene yourself. Children tend to learn by example and practice activities by copying the people closest to them, especially parents. This behavior begins as early as a few months old. When children see you brushing and flossing your teeth, they’re likely to copy you. So, when you brush your teeth with your children when they wake up in the morning and before they go to bed, they will be more likely to continue these habits.
4. Lots of Water
The bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay feed on sugars left behind on teeth. Drinking water can help to rinse some leftover sugars throughout the day. Replacing sugary beverages like fruit juice and soda can also help to reduce the sugar left on teeth overall. This is a great dental hygiene tip for kids, but it can be tough for flavorless water to compete with sweeter drinks. To encourage kids to drink water, make it as easy as possible; fill up bottles with filtered water and leave them in the fridge. Or, you might keep a glass carafe filled with water in the fridge, and add some flavor to the water with berries, cucumber, fruit, or something else.
5. Less Candy
Eating candy is a great part of childhood, and it can be difficult to limit kids’ candy intake. While some candy is certainly not a problem, eating too much candy can exacerbate problems with tooth decay.
The best way to limit candy is to make it a sometimes-treat; emphasize that candy is for special occasions. Make other, healthier treats available as well, like trail mix, popcorn, berries, or other healthy foods your kids like, so candy isn’t a go-to snack. When you do consume candy, allow your child to choose their favorite, so they don’t over-eat many different types of candy.
Use these dental hygiene tips for kids and help kids keep their teeth clean. Remember that routines will inevitably get disrupted sometimes, and even the best habits aren’t going to be perfect. Keep in mind that positive reinforcement generally works better than punishment; if your kids miss a day of brushing, eat too much candy, or aren’t drinking enough water, consider how you can reward positive behaviors instead of punishing bad ones. Also, help them to understand, as well as they can for their age, why these habits are important and how harmful tooth decay can be.