Whether they be good or bad, habits can develop early on in young children and stay with them for a long time. When it comes to brushing, habits can make the difference between keeping and losing their teeth.
Contrary to common belief, habits can take much more than 21 days to develop. Research says it can take anywhere from 18 days to a year to form a new habit. Basically, it varies from person to person and can take almost any amount of time for someone to get into the routine of doing any practice.
However long it takes your child to develop the proper dental hygiene habits, it begins with day one. Teeth should be cleaned as early as they start to come in. At first, it may be helpful to clean your baby’s teeth with a soft cloth, but as soon as possible children should be cleaning their own teeth. A child-size brush with soft bristles is ideal and recommended by the ADA. Help them get excited about brushing and make sure they do it daily. Consistency is key to ensure it becomes habit to brush both morning and night.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps build tooth enamel and prevent decay. It can be added to drinking water as well as toothpastes and mouth rinses. A fluoride mouth rinse can be very beneficial to your children’s teeth when used as a supplement to regular brushing and flossing.
Going to the dentist can be scary for many because they were always threatened with horror stories if they didn’t brush. However, increasing children’s fear of the dentist will only make the experience worse and possibly prevent them from seeing a dentist regularly in the future if those childhood fears persist. The dentist should be a place where they can feel comfortable and can go when they need help with their oral hygiene. Never use a dental visit as a threat to get your children to brush.
The first dental visit should be within the first 6 months after the first tooth comes in. Don’t wait until there are problems. Visiting the dentist while young will help it become habit, and if those experiences are positive, they will enjoy dental visits rather than dread them. Regular visits while young will help them visit the dentist throughout their life.