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Keeping Children’s Dental Hygiene Up Between Dentist Visits

Routine dental appointments are one of the best ways to ensure your child has a good report from the dentist. But the most important work starts after you leave your dentist’s office. It’s vital to maintain a regular routine of brushing, flossing and a healthy diet in between visits to ensure your child isn’t falling behind on their oral health. Here are our recommendations on how to practice good dental hygiene in between your child’s dental appointments.   

Explain The Importance of Brushing & Flossing 

Kids love asking questions. Give them a run down on the importance of brushing and flossing so they can understand for themselves and ask questions. Data from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that pain and suffering associated with untreated dental issues can lead to problems with eating, speaking and learning. All things your child needs to be successful in school. 

Try and relate the importance to something your child can understand. You could tell them that their teeth allow them to eat their favorite foods and by brushing and flossing regularly, they can keep enjoying the food they love. Another point that might grab their attention is  that their teeth allow them to have a bright, healthy smile. If their teeth are not in good condition, they might not want to show their smile to the world. The more they know about what is happening when they brush and floss their teeth, the more likely they’ll do it on their own.

Teach Proper Brushing Techniques 

Knowing you have to brush your teeth and actually knowing the right way to do it are two very different things. Teach your kids proper brushing techniques so they are set up for success from the start. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months to avoid bacteria buildup. Further, your child should spend about 2 minutes, twice daily brushing their teeth. You can have them brush their teeth for the length of a song or video to keep them motivated. To learn more about proper brushing techniques, check out a previous post of ours that covers this topic in depth.

Establish a Routine 

Once they know why it’s important to regularly brush and floss and the proper techniques, start to establish a routine. Allowing your child to pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste is a great way to get them excited about brushing their teeth. Set a specific time during the day to brush and floss. As they are getting ready for school in the morning and as they are winding down for the night are two great times to incorporate brushing into your schedule. If they are still reluctant to take part, create a rewards system for each time they successfully brush and floss their teeth. This reiterates the importance of the oral health routine and gives them an added incentive to participate. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet 

What your child is eating is a key ingredient for a healthy dental report at their next checkup. Make sure they are staying away from excess sugar that can be found in soda, juice boxes, and in most candies. These are treats that should be used in moderation to avoid cavities. If they do have a lot of sugar, remind them to brush their teeth after to practice good oral hygiene. 

Contact Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa 

Is your child due for their next dental appointment? Schedule an appointment at either our Des Moines or Ankeny office. If your child is a new patient, we ask that you fill our new patient form ahead of time.  We look forward to seeing you.