Eating Right: The first step to practicing good oral habits for kids is to get them to eat right.  Fruits and vegetables is a great snack for kids to eat when they are hungry and want to eat right for a healthy smile.  Drinking water is another good choice instead of drinking juice or soda, which has so much sugar.  Make this fun for your kids by letting them pick out healthy snacks and meals.  With your child, write down a list of things that they can eat for a healthy smile.  Apples, carrots, strawberries, cheese, etc. are just a few things that they can put on the list.

Rinsing: Pushing your child to rinse each time they eat is an excellent habit.  Rinsing with water even after they have a snack will get any extra food out of your mouth and out of your teeth and into the sink.  Some people rinse with a little bit of salt water to eliminate any bacteria and reduce gum inflammation and pain.  If your children have a start of gingivitis or gum disease, rinsing with salt water is an excellent idea as it is very soothing.

Brushing: Brushing your teeth three times a day is essential, even for children.  Many parents do not force their children to brush their teeth that much because they think that their teeth are just baby teeth, and until their adult teeth move in, they do not need to practice good hygiene.  This is absolutely false.  Good oral habits should start as early as 6 months or when the child’s first tooth pops through.

Timer: Set a timer for your child so they can make sure they are brushing their teeth for the recommended time.  Children do not have a good sense of time and 2 minutes to them could feel like 20 when they are brushing their teeth.  Using timers is a good way to be sure your child is brushing appropriately.

Dentist Appointments: Not only are dentist appointments important so your child can get a good cleaning, but they also make sure your child is brushing right, making sure to brush in the back and their gums.

Flossing: A lot of kids, and even adults skip flossing until right before they have a dentist appointment.  The lack of flossing leads to gum disease and can be very harmful for your teeth.  Getting your kids in the habit of flossing is important.  Original floss may be awkward for kids to use, but they now make new flossers that are a lot easier for kids to use.

Mouthwash: Rinsing with mouthwash after you brush and floss your teeth is a good idea, to get any extra food particles out and to rinse the fluoride from your toothpaste out of your mouth.

The sooner you teach your kids good oral habits, the better their teeth will be.  Not only can bad teeth leave a negative appearance for you, but once they turn into cavities, they are very painful to fill.

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