Oral Health Habits

Why Are Good Oral Habits Important For Kids?

The oral habits your child establishes when they are young will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Great at-home oral hygiene helps prevent common issues like gum disease and cavities, and sets them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Because of this, it is really important to make sure your child brushes and flosses regularly, and comes into our office every 3-6 months for a checkup.

 Prevent Common Oral Health Issues

Tooth decay is the #1 most common preventable oral health condition in kids and in dental patients of all ages. The good news is that with a healthy diet, good oral habits, and routine visits to the dentist, cavities are completely avoidable. 

Save Time & Money

 If your child takes good care of their teeth, they're less likely to have problems like cavities or infected teeth. That means you won’t have to pay for procedures like fillings and crowns, and your little one won’t have to make as many visits to the dentist as they grow up.

Set Your Child Up For Success

What you learn as a child sticks with you. So if you encourage your children to brush regularly, floss daily, and see the dentist every 6 months, they’ll continue these habits into adulthood. That sets them up for a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles!  

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3 Steps Towards Awesome Oral Health

Step 1

Brush Twice A Day For Two Minutes

As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, start brushing it with a dab of fluoride toothpaste. Once they’ve got all their teeth, make sure to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, and clean each surface thoroughly. Kids can usually brush on their own around the age of 7-8, but you should keep an eye on them to make sure they're brushing consistently and doing a good job.

Step 2

Floss Once Per Day

Once your child has all of their teeth, start flossing them once per day. Flossing removes bacteria and buildup between teeth, where toothbrushes can’t reach. Learning to floss properly can be tough for younger kids, so you may need to floss for them until they're around 10 years old.

Step 3

Eat A Tooth-Healthy Diet

A healthy diet helps prevent common oral health problems like cavities. Your child should avoid sweet and sugary drinks and snacks. Encourage them to eat things like cheese, yogurt, lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoiding processed foods and sugary/starchy snacks helps prevent cavities and gum disease, and will help improve both your child’s oral and overall health!

Have questions about Oral Habits? Find answers here.

When should my child stop using a bottle?

You should start weaning your baby off bottles and pacifiers between the ages of 12-24 months. Start off by switching to a sippy cup before transitioning to an open cup once they turn two years old. 

Is it normal for my child to suck their thumb?

Yes. While it is completely normal for children to suck their thumbs or fingers as a soothing mechanism, they should stop around the ages of 3-4 years old. If they continue thumb-sucking past the age of 4, it can lead to dental and speech problems.

When should I schedule my child’s first dentist appointment?

The AAPD American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends bringing your child in for their first visit 6 months after their first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. At these early visits, we can ensure their teeth and jaw are developing properly, and address any minor issues before they become big ones. Plus, by starting their dental visits early, they are more likely to develop a positive relationship with their oral health.