Passing Good Oral Hygiene Habits to Your Kids

Daily brushing and flossing are essential components of a healthy oral hygiene routine. As an adult, you've had many years to perfect your technique. Here are some tips that can help you pass onto your kids the good habits you've built up.

1. Check Your Technique

Before you start giving tooth-brushing lessons, take the opportunity to give your technique a tune-up. Hold your toothbrush gently between your fingers, rather than gripped in your fist, and move it over each of your teeth in turn, being careful to brush the backs, fronts, and chewing surfaces. If you use an electric toothbrush, you can use the timer to ensure that you are brushing for the two minutes recommended by most family dentists. If your brush is manual, then you can use a timer on your phone or watch.

2. Brush Together

Kids learn much better by taking part in group activities than they do by listening to lectures. Brush your teeth at the same time as your children to show them that it is a normal part of daily life, not a task that you are imposing on them to be mean. Most kids enjoy copying their parents, so this method of getting them to brush every day can be very effective.

3. Entertain Younger Kids

Small children are more likely to enjoy brushing their teeth if you make it entertaining. Toothbrushes designed for kids are a great place to start: they come in many bright colours and designs that allow children to express their personalities through their toothbrush. Some toothbrushes also play tunes to encourage kids to clean their teeth for long enough. Alternatively, you can play one of your kids' favourite songs while they brush — as long as it is at least two minutes long.

4. Try Different Toothpaste Brands

Many kids don't like the taste of the typical minty toothpaste brands that adults buy. Exploring different options is an easy way to take the conflict out of getting your kids to brush. Try flavours such as bubblegum, strawberry, or banana until you find one that your kids don't mind. The important thing to remember is that toothpaste is most effective when it contains fluoride, which might be in the form of sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride. This natural mineral is important for building healthy enamel and preventing tooth decay. Most mainstream toothpaste brands contain it as standard, but some "natural" toothpaste brands don't.

For more information, contact local family dentists.