Create an efficient daily routine that supports your child’s bright, healthy smile.
You already know your child’s teeth and oral health are a priority, but did you know you can cover all the bases of their at-home dental care routine in less than ten minutes every day?
Creating a daily at-home oral care routine for your child to follow gives you the reassurance that their oral health needs are being met and also helps them adopt lifelong healthy habits. Best of all, an effective routine is fairly basic and only requires a few minutes every morning and evening.
Break down your child’s at-home dental care routine into morning and evening.
The American Dental Association recommends children brush twice a day, making it easy to divide their dental care routine into morning and evening categories. For the most part, both categories incorporate the same steps.
Morning Dental Care
For maximum cavity prevention and to minimize the window between brushings, it’s recommended for kids to brush their teeth after they’ve had their morning breakfast or snack.
After your child wakes up and has their breakfast, remind them to head back to the bathroom to brush their teeth for two minutes. You can also include flossing, but when mornings are hectic and time is of the essence, saving flossing for the evening is perfectly acceptable.
Finish with a kid-friendly mouthwash, and your child is ready for their day.
Evening Dental Care
Evening dental care is essentially the same as morning dental care. After dinner or their final snack of the evening before bed, be sure your child’s teeth are thoroughly flossed and brushed. Bedtime brushing is particularly important and shouldn’t be skipped, as tooth decay is more apt to develop while your child is sleeping compared to during the day.
Your child should brush again for two minutes, using proper technique. If they’re flossing before bed, it’s best to have them floss before brushing to ensure any loosened debris is removed.
Total Time for Morning and Evening Dental Care
Once your kids have gotten used to their dental care routines, it should only take about four to five minutes for each morning and evening session. This includes one to two minutes for flossing, two minutes for brushing, and about 30 seconds for rinsing with a mouthwash.
You can incorporate these ideas into your child’s routine to make oral hygiene fun.
When kids are doing something that doesn’t interest them, they often get distracted, which leads to wasted time and frustrated parents. Dental care might not immediately seem like an interesting subject for adults, but as a parent, there are plenty of things you can do to make your child’s at-home oral care routine fun.
Here are a few ideas to try.
Time their brushing sessions with music.
The classic sand timers are really useful for reminding kids to brush for a full two minutes, but they tend to lose their charm after a few weeks. An equally useful but much more fun idea is to play a two-minute snippet of your child’s favorite song. If you have multiple kids, they can each take turns playing their favorite song in the morning and evening.
Make bedtime brushing a family affair.
Most parents find mornings to be a bit more hectic than evenings, which makes bedtime brushing the perfect time for everyone to brush together. Gather in the biggest bathroom and go through each step together, from flossing to brushing and finishing with a mouthwash.
Get young siblings involved early on.
If you have a toddler who isn’t quite brushing on their own, including them in your family’s oral care routine is a great way to get them interested in brushing. Allowing older kids to teach their siblings (with supervision) is also a nice way for them to bond while practicing good habits.
Let them pick their oral care products.
A surefire way to get your kids looking forward to brushing is to let them pick out their own products. Allowing them to pick out their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash gives them a feeling of independence while also getting them excited to test out their new items. Be sure to only select ADA-recommended products.
Get the expert guidance of a pediatric dentist to ensure your child’s at-home oral care routine is tailored to their needs.
Following the guidelines above will get your child onto the right path for a healthy, cavity-free smile, but it doesn’t replace the expertise and care of a pediatric dentist.
Just like you, your child should see their dentist every six months for a checkup, cleaning, and optional fluoride application. Their pediatric dentist can also apply dental sealants on your child’s teeth, more specifically their molars, during one of these hygiene visits for additional cavity prevention.
We encourage you to share your child’s at-home oral care routine with their pediatric dentist. If your child’s current routine is spot-on with your dentist’s approval, you get to relax knowing you’re on the right track. If their dentist notices some gaps in your child’s routine, that’s great news too because it means you’ll learn what you need to do to get on track.
If you have questions about your child’s teeth, at-home oral care routine, or if it’s time for their biannual checkup, you can book an appointment now by calling your closest Pediatric Dental Specialists office or filling out this handy online form.