Advice from the Dental Experts in Rockland County, NY:
What is the best way to teach dental hygiene and habits to toddlers and young children?
"Until the kids are 8 years old, parents should brush and floss for them. Motivate the kids by telling them they'll have 'buggies' in their mouth if they don't brush."
-Marcia S. Grossman, DMD, of Family Dentistry
"Older siblings are always helpful if they are around; they can brush together because younger children look up to them."
-Stephanie Strickland, DMD, of Pediatric Dentistry
"Consistency and repetition are key. It's important to introduce a toothbrush early on and even if there is a negative or lukewarm response to it, keep up with a routine, ideally after breakfast and at bedtime."
-Ruby Gelman, DMD, of Pediatric Dentistry
"Begin to brush your child's teeth with a small soft brush as soon as she has the first few teeth. Then, when the child asks to brush her own teeth, allow it, but make sure the teeth are actually clean."
-Ken Markel, DMD, MSD, of Dentistry for Children
"Until a child can tie a shoelace, parents need to go in and brush. If a child wants to do it, it's an act of play, not an act of hygiene, so let him, but parents have to brush as well."
-Jed M. Best, DDS
"Start cleaning their gums from the time they are newborns so they are used to someone cleaning their mouths. Be consistent and have it be a part of the bedtime routine."
-Lois A. Jackson, DDS, of Lois A. Jackson and Associates
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