The primary concern of most young children is when they can get their hands on the next chocolate chip cookie or lollipop. Needless to say, implementing a proper dental hygiene is not on a child’s priority list.

It should be on the parent’s list, however.

A clean smile is essential for people of all ages, including babies and toddlers. The mouth is the ideal environment for bacteria growth. It’s important that a consistent routine of brushing and flossing be performed, especially since the typical kid diet includes an abundance of sugary drinks and sweets. This reality means that children are increasingly susceptible to cavities and more severe forms of decay.

Kids commonly battle their parents after being told to brush their teeth. No matter how difficult the child is, parents must stand firm in their fight to teach children good dental hygiene habits. We understand that this task is easier said than enforced, so we at Trillium Dental have assembled a few helpful tips to make the process easier.

1. Begin early. Prior to the first baby tooth sprouting at six or seven months, softly wipe the gums down with a damp cloth after the baby eats or drinks. However, dental care should start once a tooth is present. Take your baby to visit the dentist and gently brush whatever teeth have grown in. Getting in a good routine early will make things easier once he or she hits the rebellious toddler years.

2. Make brushing entertaining. Kids don’t like boring. Liven up their dental hygiene routine by playing music, including a friend or stuffed animal or composing your very own tooth brushing song. By making dental hygiene fun, kids will be eager to pick up their brush and scrub away.

3. Offer a reward. Parents realize the reward of brushing and flossing is a healthy and beautiful smile, but that prize isn’t going to cut it for a small child. Keep track of every good tooth brushing session with a colorful poster and stickers in your child’s bathroom. Once he or she earns a certain number of stickers, reward them however you’d like. Avoid treating them with sugary candies, though.

4. Let your child pick the supplies. Toddlers are fiercely independent (or so they think), so let them make their own decision when selecting a toothbrush and toothpaste. When a child knows that they made their own decision, it’s exciting. He or she will likely be eager to show you that they can brush on their own.

5. Make it a family affair. Show your child that you’re excited about brushing and flossing by including other family members. Not only does this make things more exciting for the child, but it sets a great example.

6. Don’t give up! Be consistent. Brush your teeth after every meal, and let your child know that you’re doing so. By setting a consistent routine, kids will know what to expect. If he or she fights back, keep trying. Don’t give up on your child or their dental health.

If you’re looking for a family dentist in the Ottawa area, contact Trillium Dental.