file0001519843631Oral care and hygiene is important starting at an early age. Teaching your children properly will help them stay healthier in general and benefit them later in the life. You can start by setting an example; taking good care of your own teeth sends a message that oral health is something to be valued. And anything that makes taking care of teeth fun, like brushing along with your child or letting them choose their own toothbrush, encourages proper oral care.

It’s important to get your kids used to a regular dental routine at a young age to protect their teeth and gums. This routine will also help prevent cavities and other complications of plaque and debris build up. Teach them to follow these simple steps:

1. Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. This removes the plaque and film that builds up to cause tooth decay.

2. Remember to floss everyday. This removes plaque your toothbrush can’t reach – in between your teeth and under your gumline. This is important because once plaque hardens it becomes tartar which can only be removed by professional cleaning.

3. Avoid starchy and sugary foods. Both produce plaque acids that lead to cavities. When you do eat these types of foods, eat them with a meal rather than as a stand-alone snack. The extra saliva you produce during mealtime will help rinse the acid from your mouth.

Here are some brushing techniques to teach your children as well. You may want to supervise younger children until you are sure they are brushing properly.

1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush; hard bristles could damage the enamel on young teeth.

2. Brush the insides of your teeth first taking care to get up to the gumline. Then brush the outsides of the teeth. Use a circular motion; don’t scrub back and forth.

3. Next brush the top (or chewing surface) of each tooth. Use the tip of the brush to thoroughly clean your front teeth.

4. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!