Mind and Body: National Children’s Dental Health Month

Published 9:00 am Monday, February 26, 2018

By Brandi Bush, PHRDH

Clark County Health Deptartment

One of the most important things you can do to improve your child’s dental health cannot be purchased in a store.

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It cannot be taught in the 30  minutes that he or she sees their dentist or hygienist twice a year. It is a simple thing any parent can do beginning with your child’s first tooth. This invaluable oral health building block is establishing a twice daily brushing routine.

Did you know 14 to 21 days is all it takes to make something routine a habit? Establishing a morning and nighttime brushing and flossing pattern can create good habits children can carry throughout their lifetime.

Each child is different. Just like with anything else some kids will take longer to learn a routine that others.

A good example of this is potty training. When we want our kids to learn this habit we establish a routine first. We encourage them in the morning when they wake up to go potty and throughout the day.

While each child may not learn within the same amount of time, it’s the routine that helps make it habit. The habit is the same with brushing and flossing.

Each morning and at before bedtime, children need to be encouraged to brush and floss. Then kids began to think of brushing/flossing on their own (morning and night). It will not take long before this encouragement will lead to a life-long habit.

Encourage your child each day and help them establish a routine. There are some tools to make the experience fun. Some kids do well with a tooth brushing calendar or chart that they can mark morning and night after brushing.

There are also apps for your phone that play games or musical timers. You can also find toothbrushes that have flashing lights or music while your child brushes.

Anything that can help you and your child make the routine fun and a daily habit will insure your child had a lifetime of good oral health.

Visit the Clark County Health Department website at www.clarkhealthdept.org.