When it comes to making sure your children have healthy teeth when they get older, the earlier you can start, the better off they'll be. No one is suggesting that it will always be easy, but the sooner you can impress upon them the importance of regular brushing, flossing and dental visits, the less chance there will be of fillings later. To that end, there are some simple steps to be aware of in order to keep them committed to their own dental care and address possible issues early.

Building Your Routine

The best place to start, when developing your child's attitude toward dental care, is at home with regular brushing. Most doctors recommend beginning with simply wiping down a baby's teeth. Make this a part of both morning and evening routines and build the rest of your routines around it. Plan on making it the last thing done before getting in bed, and the last thing done before leaving the house in the morning.

By age six, your child should be brushing on their own, though it's still a good idea to supervise just to ensure that proper technique is used. If lazy brushing habits are going to develop, this is the time to catch and correct them. This is also a good age to introduce flossing, as enough teeth will be in place that it will be difficult to clean effectively with brushing alone.

Pediatric Dentists

While you are by no means required to visit a pediatric specialist, it's still a good idea to plan for your child's first dental appointment around their first birthday. That said, a pediatric dentist is often going to be the most comfortable experience for young children and toddlers. Better still, they're specialized in dealing with smaller mouths and the challenges faced by parents trying to instill good dental hygiene habits.

If you can't find a pediatric dental practice in your area, contact family dentists nearby and inquire about the minimum age they will accept as a new patient. While not all family dentists will take children under 3 years of age, some will and this will give you the opportunity to introduce the experience to your child. At the same time, good advice can be found with just about any dentist if you have problems with thumb-sucking, teething or fluoride use.

While it's never too early to start building good dental hygiene habits, there are certain stepping stones you need to be aware of. Once you're aware of some of the best practices, you can make adjustments to your child's dental routine as necessary.

For more information, contact North Phoenix Pediatric Dentistry or a similar location.