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Having a daily dental routine can help your child avoid unwanted scary trips to the dentist and can help you save money. Preventative care is always less expensive than emergency care, and good oral hygiene can positively impact overall health and help prevent diseases. It is important for children to learn about oral hygiene at an early age so that they can have healthy and strong teeth that will carry into their adult life.

Here are some steps you can teach your child to keep their mouth clean and healthy:

1. Brush their teeth at least twice a day
A good tip is to brush your teeth at the same time, so they can learn by imitating your actions and so you actually see the brush. Look for a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Sometimes it can be useful to have a timer as well so your kid can understand the time they need to spend doing this (the American Dental Association recommends 2 minutes).

2. Brush their tongue
It is very common for bacteria to accumulate on the tongue, so it’s important to always clean it. Remind your child to brush their tongue with their toothbrush once they are finished with brushing their teeth. After the brushing is done, remember to have them rinse their mouth with water.

3. Floss their teeth once a day
Flossing will be something harder for children to learn, so you will likely have to do it for them until they are able to do it themselves. Children don’t need to start flossing until their teeth start shifting closer together. Remember to buy a softer floss for them so they don’t get hurt while they’re still learning.

4. Visit the dentist regularly
Like adults, children should also visit the dentist every 6 months at least. Your child’s first visit should occur by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth, whichever comes first. Once you pay your first visit, the doctor will let you know what frequency of visits is best for your child.

5. Limit sugary foods and drinks
Sugary foods and drinks can increase the likelihood of developing cavities, so try to limit these. Whenever possible, have your child brush their teeth after eating candy, juice, or other food items with sugar.

6. Make it fun!
The more it seems like something fun to do and not a chore, the more your child will get into the habit of doing it. Consider buying a timer with your child’s favorite character, or play a brushing song. Buy a toothpaste that tastes good and perhaps even sparkles. Make a checklist and offer rewards each week they complete their dental routine.

Learn more about what a Risas Kids Dental visit looks like here.

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