When teaching your children how to develop good habits, one of them should be how to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Research shows that children who had good oral hygiene in the early years continue with it when they grow up, having fewer dental issues and more self-confidence.

Your job as a parent is to teach them why strong teeth, healthy gums, and beautiful smile matters and how to get there.

Care from the very first tooth

Even though baby teeth will fall out after some time, it's not a reason not to teach your kids to take care of them. They need healthy gums and oral cavity when permanent teeth start growing.

Even baby teeth can cause issues with gums, such as disease and inflammation, or difficulties with chewing and sleeping, even smiling.

Moreover, you are reducing the chances of having to pay for expensive dental treatments and procedures for your child later on. In most cases, poor oral hygiene at an early age leads to major and expensive consequences during the teenage years.

So, proper hygiene should start as soon as your kids start getting teeth. Use a gentle washcloth to clean your child's baby teeth - that should suffice and won't hurt the sensitive gums.

Set the example


The best way for parents to teach their children how to take proper dental care is to do the same thing. Children love watching and imitating others, especially their parents.

Be the role model they would want to imitate - let them see how you regularly wash your teeth twice a day. They will understand more easily that it is something important if they see you doing that.

Also, find a great family dentist and introduce them to your kids. Kids will feel much more relaxed if they know and like the person checking their teeth. Make those visits to the dentist fun, and make sure the dentist is somebody who knows how to approach kids - your kids won't have any issues in paying a visit to the dentist. In fact, they could get excited about it.

Encourage healthy habits

To teach your children the importance of good oral hygiene, you need to show them not only how to properly brush their teeth but also to get them used to regular visits to the dentist.

Explain to them their teeth will never hurt them and they will always have a healthy smile. And make sure you show them how to do it on their own, as children like when they are allowed to be independent in certain matters.

it's important to brush teeth for a whole two minutes so that fluoride and other beneficial ingredients have time to properly clean the teeth and protect them from bacteria. Show your kids how to brush their teeth properly (all of the surfaces) and assist them as long as they don't learn how to that themselves, without you checking on them.

food trapped between the teeth and plaque that builds up in time can cause cavities, tooth decay, and gingivitis. This is why you need to floss between your child's teeth, as well as along the gum line - it's the surest way the food will be removed completely.

for kids, oral hygiene should be fun. So, let them choose the color of their toothbrush and flavor of their toothpaste. They need to feel that it's something theirs, which will motivate them to use it. Of course, make sure the toothpaste and toothbrush they want are appropriate.

every time your kid drinks juice or eats candy, encourage them to go and brush their teeth immediately

to make sure your kids will brush their teeth for two minutes, play a song, or even sing it with them. That way, they won't notice the time passing and they won't interrupt brushing too soon.

Additional useful tips

In the meantime, do your best to give your kids as much water as you can - water neutralizes acids in the mouth that can lead to tooth problems.

The same goes for your children's diet - it should have a minimal amount of sugary food, fizzy drinks, and processed food. All of that can largely contribute to developing dental issues.

Make sure your kid gets enough fluoride. Sure, you will buy a fluoride toothpaste but check if there are other sources of fluoride for them. Maybe the water you drink is enriched with fluoride. If not, consider giving fluoride supplements to your kids. If in doubt, consult your dentist.

Bottom line

Good habits should be developed in early childhood. Kids are like sponges - they soak in everything they see. So make sure, you learn them how to take care of their teeth properly - that will be the basis of their healthy relationship with themselves.