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7 Ways to Instill Good Oral Health Care Habits in Your Kids

Feb 07, 2024

7 Ways to Instill Good Oral Health Care Habits in Your Kids
As parents, you’re always on a mission to help care for your child’s well-being, and that includes their oral health. In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we share seven ways to instill good oral health care habits in your kids.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, and what better time to focus on fostering a foundation of healthy dental habits in your little ones? As a parent, you play a crucial role in shaping your children's oral health practices, and our team of providers at Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces in San Antonio, and Helotes, Texas, are here to support you on that mission with our pediatric dental services.

Here are seven effective ways to instill good oral health care habits that will keep those smiles shining bright.

1. Start at-home oral care early

Oral care should begin even before the first tooth makes its appearance. Use a soft, damp cloth to gently clean your baby's gums after feedings. As teeth emerge, transition to a child-sized toothbrush to get them accustomed to the routine.

2. Make brushing teeth a fun activity

Turn brushing into an enjoyable activity rather than a chore. Choose a toothbrush with their favorite characters, play their favorite song while brushing, or use a timer to make it a game. Some toothbrushes even feature timed music to help teach kids how long they need to brush their teeth. Creating a positive association will encourage consistency.

Tip: you can find several books at your local library that feature tips for brushing with your child’s favorite characters. 

3. Teach them the right way to brush and floss

Show your kids the correct way to brush and floss. Emphasize the importance of reaching all surfaces of the teeth and gums. Use child-friendly toothpaste with fluoride and supervise their brushing until they can effectively do it on their own.

Not sure which toothpaste to use? Look for a toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance or ask your Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces provider for a recommendation based on your child’s needs.

In addition to showing them how to brush correctly, you can incorporate supplemental materials to help reinforce the same topics. Coloring books, interactive games, or storytelling centered around dental care make the subject fun for kids.

4. Lead by example

Children are keen observers. Demonstrate good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing alongside them. Let them see that oral care is a family affair, and they'll be more likely to follow suit.

5. Limit sugary treats

Constant sugar consumption is a major contributor to tooth decay. Encourage a balanced diet with limited sugary snacks and beverages. Opt for healthier alternatives, and when sweets are on the menu, offer them in moderation.

Tip: check your juice labels. Juice can be a sneaky source of sugar, especially if it isn’t 100% juice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 8 ounces of juice per day for kids aged 7-18. If possible, try to serve whole fruit instead of juice since that also provides other benefits such as fiber. 

6. Schedule regular dental cleanings

Schedule regular dental check-ups for your children. Routine visits to the dentist help identify any potential issues early on and create a positive association with dental care. 

Our team also offers specialized preventive care for any children with special needs and are more than happy to provide additional resources for parents and caregivers.

7. Celebrate milestones

Celebrate achievements in your child's oral care journey. Whether it's remembering to brush independently or completing a dental visit, acknowledging their efforts boosts confidence and reinforces the importance of good oral habits.

Celebrate National Children’s Oral Health Month

National Children's Dental Health Month serves as a reminder that fostering good oral health care habits in your kids is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Take time this month to celebrate any oral health milestones, and if you’re due for a cleaning, don’t forget to schedule one in any one of our San Antonio, Texas, offices or our Helotes, Texas. You can also click here to use our online scheduling tool.