Dental Implants: Pros and Cons

How to Create an Effective Dental Routine for Your Child

by Brett Clark

Did you know that it's just as important to take care of your child's baby teeth as it is to take care of adult teeth, even if those baby teeth will eventually fall out? Healthy primary teeth help guide adult teeth into the right place, ensure your child can eat and talk properly, boost self-esteem, and keep your little one free from oral discomfort. As such, it's crucial that your child follows a good dental routine to keep their teeth clean and bacteria-free.

Of course, when it comes to stubborn children who would much rather be playing than brushing their teeth, this is often easiest said than done. If you want to make sure your child doesn't get cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease, here are four tips on how to create an effective dental routine that your child will maintain for years to come.

1. Set goals and rewards

It is important to establish goals and rewards for your child if you want to motivate them to keep up with a dental routine. This will help encourage your child to continue brushing and flossing even when it gets boring. As an example, you can create a star chart and promise your child a special gift after a month of dental hygiene. Work with your child to create "brushing stars" or "flossing stars"; each time they brush their teeth (either with supervision or alone depending on their age), give them a star sticker. When they get enough stars, you can give them a prize. The prize can be anything they enjoy, from a stuffed animal to a day out, but try to avoid tooth-unfriendly gifts like sugary lollies.

2. Choose a time that works best for your family

If your child is having trouble keeping up with brushing and flossing, changing the time they complete their routine could help. If your child is having trouble brushing their teeth as soon as they wake up, for example, try asking them to brush after eating breakfast. The same goes for nighttime; consider getting your child to brush and floss an hour or so after eating dinner instead of right before bed when they're too tired.

3. Find the best toothbrush and toothpaste

Each child is different, which means every child has a different toothbrush and toothpaste to suit them. Some children prefer the ease of an electric toothbrush, while others with sensory difficulties may prefer a quiet and still manual toothbrush. Some children need extra soft bristles to brush comfortably, so they may refuse to brush their teeth with a firm toothbrush. As for toothpaste, many children avoid their dental routine because they don't like the strong, minty flavour of toothpaste. If your child is the same, look out for flavoured children's toothpaste. 

4. Don't forget to visit the dentist together

One of the most vital parts of any dental hygiene routine is seeing a dentist regularly. Keeping up with regular dental appointments together with your child now will help ensure they don't have any dental phobias going into adulthood. Plus, your child's dentist can give you plenty of advice on how to keep up the best possible oral health routine.