Because oral health is so crucial to your health, it is critical that you teach your children how to care for their teeth from an early age. If you make the tooth brushing, flossing and dental visits fun and explain that oral hygiene is easy, with easy to understand terms, children in your life will have better chances to grow with clean, healthy teeth and gums.

Explain the basics

For children to understand why they need to care for their teeth, they must understand the basics of oral hygiene, tooth decay and gum disease. Since the science behind these concepts is very complicated for 3-year-olds, it reduces concepts at the preschool level. Explain that when the sugar sticks to the teeth, small sugar insects are formed that eat the teeth, leaving small brown holes called cavities. Let her know that cavities are painful and unhealthy. This simplified version is enough for most children to take an interest in looking after their teeth.

Brushing and flossing

Tell your child that the best way to get rid of sugar bugs is to brush them to get rid of excess sugar. Use models or posters to show them how they look at their teeth closely and point out where sugar bugs can hide. Teach them that if they brush their teeth from both sides and thoroughly, the insects will be swept away. Explain that flossing will help get rid of the insects hidden between your teeth. Emphasize the importance of brushing and flossing at least twice a day for two minutes in each session. Also let them know that they should take their time to brush the sides of their cheeks and tongue.

Choosing healthy foods

Tell your children that their food choices affect oral hygiene. Because sugar bacteria like to feed on the sugars found in candy, cookies, and soda, it reminds children that these foods will attract more bugs. Explain that sticky candies like candy are especially bad for oral health because they are very difficult to clean from the teeth. Teach them about healthy snack choices such as vegetables, fruits and whole bakery products, and encourage them to make choices that will benefit their oral hygiene.

To visit the dentist

Children should see the dentist’s office as a friendly place where they feel comfortable. Emphasize that regular professional cleanings are a normal part of oral hygiene and that the dentist and his assistants will help fight cavities. Because some children will inevitably need to see the dentist to fill cavities or do other jobs besides cleanings, make sure they know that a trip to the dentist does not mean that they fail. If the clinic finds children a fun place, fear and anxiety about dental work will not follow them into adulthood.