Most adults with good oral hygiene picked up the habits instilled that were instilled in them as reluctant children. Similarly, adults with poor oral hygiene are suffering from bad habits they picked up as kids.

If you have small children, it’s up to you to keep their teeth clean for now, or teach them how. Of course, this requires time and effort on your part. But later in life, your children will thank you and it will be worth it.


Account for children’s sensitive teeth

Young children have sensitive teeth that they are still learning how to use. They can’t take all the wear and tear you no doubt put on yours when you chew extra hard things, and they may not even have the muscles developed for that anyway.

It is best to treat sensitive teeth very carefully. Start out with softer toothbrushes (or your finger for infants), childrens’ toothpastes, and if you can afford to, try and get your child in for the occasional dentist visit. It’s also wise to give them fluoride tablets here and there, especially if your tap water does not include fluoride already. Fluoride helps to make teeth stronger.


Bad Gums Can Occur Early in Life

“[Plaque] can cause soreness, swelling, and bleeding in your gums” WebMD writes. This is doubly important for a child. You need to be brushing your child’s teeth frequently, and flossing as well.

Of course, this includes brushing your child’s gums too. Food particles and plaque can still get on their actual gums, and a rinse isn’t good enough to get it all out. So take care of their whole mouth, not just their teeth. Teeth and gums operate together and independently of each other on some level, and they need to be treated accordingly.


Don’t Wait Too Long to Get Braces

Understand that when we use the word “early,” we don’t necessarily mean too early for your child to have braces. But don’t wait too long once you know they are needed.

Braces aren’t just for straightening teeth, they help with overbites and underbites as well. With an overbite or underbite, your child’s jaw could grow wrong and they may have permanent problems with their mouth. This is also where semi-regular dentist visits come in. The dentist will let you know if and when your child needs braces, retainers, headgear, and the like. So the more you’re able to see the dentist, the better you’ll be able to prevent these sorts of things from happening.


Cavities Can Be A Problem At Any Age

When it comes to dental disease and cavities in children, the parents actually play a bigger role than you might think. According to the WDA, infants are at risk if their mothers don’t take good care of their own teeth, due to transmission of germs. It’s also good for parents to keep sugary things away from them, at least in large.

Of course at any age, children’s teeth can get cavities, so maintaining proper oral hygiene for your child is very important from that angle alone. Maintaining a careful stance on sugar, as well as regular brushing and flossing, should follow them as they grow up, so when they’re of age to start doing these things themselves they can carry those habits on.


Reinforce Positive Attitudes about Dental Care

According to WebMD, most children lack the coordination to brush and floss their own teeth until they’re about 6 or 7. But as early as you feel is reasonable, teaching them to take the reigns sooner than later may be a good idea.

Colgate’s website has an interesting and unusual piece of advice, but insightful nonetheless: don’t instill fear. Since some children are reluctant to oral care, many parents have been known to tell stories of scary dental procedures and surgeries.

However, as Colgate writes, “Making the dentist a source of fear can even lead to an unhealthy avoidance of dental appointments in adults.” Rewarding kids for the right actions will work better than scaring them for the wrong ones.

Yuping Li
Yuping Li