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  • Writer's pictureDr. Wade Newman

Oral Health 101: A Father’s Guide to Teaching Kids about Dental Hygiene

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

As a father, you are one of your child's primary role models. Your habits, your attitudes, and your behaviors are all things that your child will likely mimic. This is no different when it comes to oral hygiene. Teaching your children about the importance of good oral health habits from an early age can set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Here's a guide to help fathers instill these essential lessons in their children.

First guy to teaching kids about dental hygiene from Dr Wade Newman

1. Start Early

Don't wait until your child has a full set of teeth to start oral hygiene practices. Even before your baby's first tooth appears, you can gently clean their gums with a soft, clean cloth. As soon as the first tooth erupts, start brushing with a soft baby toothbrush and a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).

2. Make Brushing Fun

Transform brushing time into a fun and enjoyable experience. Use flavored toothpaste suitable for kids, sing songs, tell stories, or even use a timer with their favorite cartoon character to make sure they brush for the recommended two minutes. This will make your child look forward to brushing their teeth rather than seeing it as a chore.

3. Show and Tell

Children learn best by watching and mimicking adults. Show your child how you brush and floss your teeth. Make sure you demonstrate the right technique – gentle circular brushing motions, making sure to reach all surfaces of the teeth. For flossing, guide them on how to gently insert the floss between their teeth to clean effectively without harming their gums.

4. Regular Dental Visits

Dentists recommend scheduling your child's first dental visit as soon as their first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday. Regular dental check-ups not only help to catch any potential dental issues early but also familiarize your child with the dentist's office, reducing dental anxiety.

5. Healthy Eating Habits

Instill healthy eating habits in your child. Encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit sugary snacks and drinks. Teach your child about the relationship between the foods they eat and their dental health.

6. Talk About Oral Health

Talk to your children about why dental hygiene is important. Explain how proper brushing and flossing can keep their teeth strong and healthy and prevent cavities. Use kid-friendly language and visuals to help them understand better.

7. Lead by Example

Perhaps the most important tip is to lead by example. Children often emulate their parents' behavior. By maintaining good oral hygiene yourself, you're showing your child that dental health is a priority.

Remember, the habits children form at a young age often stick with them for life. As a father, you have a golden opportunity to instill good oral hygiene habits in your children, setting them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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