How To Teach Oral Hygiene To Kids

Establishing good oral hygiene habits in children should begin during their early years. Here, our Etobicoke dentists share some tips on how to teach oral hygiene to kids and create those good habits early.

Oral Hygiene for Infants (up to age 2)

Taking care of your baby's oral health starts even before their first teeth appear. Healthy gums play a significant role in the development of strong and healthy teeth. Typically, around six months of age, you can expect your child's first teeth to start emerging, often starting with the lower front teeth.

Here’s how you should care for a baby’s teeth and gums:

  • After your baby has been fed, gently clean their gums using a soft washcloth to remove any bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay.
  • Once teeth begin to arrive, brush twice daily with a grain-sized amount of toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Book your baby’s first dental appointment before their first birthday or after his or her first baby tooth has come in - whichever arrives first.
  • Limit soother use to nap time or bedtime starting at one or two years old.

Oral Hygiene for Children (aged 3 to 9)

During these important early years of growth, it's crucial to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine for your child. By the age of three, all of their baby (primary) teeth should have erupted, and around age six, they will begin to lose these teeth as their adult (permanent) teeth start to emerge. The majority of the permanent teeth will come in by the age of 13.

Here are some age-appropriate oral care lessons for children aged three and up:

  • Make brushing and flossing a fun and interactive activity by doing it together with your child. Kids often enjoy imitating adults, so take this opportunity to let them observe you while you brush and floss, explaining the steps along the way. It's important to start incorporating flossing into their routine once their teeth begin to touch to establish good habits.
  • Choose a special brush and toothpaste. Make brushing fun by choosing a brightly coloured, soft-bristled toothbrush and flavoured toothpaste your child loves (use a pea-sized amount).
  • Teach the importance of diet for healthy teeth. For excellent oral hygiene, calcium-rich foods like green vegetables, cheese, and yogurt are key.
  • Limit sugary foods, fruit juices, and soda, which get stuck in the crevices of kids’ teeth and become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Oral Hygiene for Pre-Teens (aged 10 to 12)

During the pre-teen years, as children become more independent and engaged in various activities, their dental care needs start resembling those of adults. At this stage:

  • Discourage tobacco use. Not only are smoking and tobacco terrible for your lungs, but tobacco can also lead to many diseases, such as gum disease and oral cancers.
  • Remind your pre-teen to drink water, and keep your fridge full of healthy snacks.
  • Encourage your pre-teen by highlighting the benefits of a healthy and bright smile. Emphasize to them that maintaining good oral health will ensure strong teeth and a beautiful smile.
  • Continue regular dental visits.

Contact our dental team at Park Lawn Dental to learn more about caring for your children's teeth.

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Park Lawn Dental
172 The Queensway Etobicoke ON M8Y 1J3 CA


(416) 231-9163


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