The 10 Commandments of Instilling Good Oral Hygiene Habits in Children

Making sure your young children practice good oral hygiene habits starting as young as possible will go a long, long, long way to ensuring that they continue these practices long into their adulthoods. And good oral hygiene practiced regularly for a lifetime often means very little tooth decay (cavities), as well as never having the “pleasure” of experiencing dental disease such as periodontitis.

Which means your children could well end up keeping all of their teeth throughout their lives, never needing an implant, a dental crown, etc.

So how can you make sure your kids have good oral health throughout their lives? By following the 10 Commandments of Good Oral Hygiene!


  1. Brushing and flossing is by far the most important thing you can teach your children. Get them started young: you should brush your baby’s teeth as soon as the first milk tooth erupts.
  2. Get your baby to his first dentist appointment as soon as that first tooth erupts and make sure he goes at least twice a year thereafter.
  3. Floss your baby’s or toddler’s teeth as soon as two milk teeth stand next to each other.
  4. Start teaching your toddler around the age of 4 or 5 how to brush and floss himself. You’ll have to supervise, of course, but your child should be able to brush/floss on his own once he’s between the ages of 6 and 8.
  5. Be a good role model yourself. Brush and floss your own teeth and do so twice a day (brushing) and once a day (flossing). Make sure your child knows you do this.
  6. To help instill the habit, make a family ritual of brushing/flossing right before your children’s bedtime. Everyone brushes/flosses together!
  7. Get your six-month checkups yourself and never complain about going in front of your children.
  8. Keep candy, cookies to a minimum. Watch your child’s starch intake (breads, etc.) because bacteria on one’s teeth love starches and sugars, creating plaque, which can create cavities.
  9. Watch the amount of acidic beverages (such as orange juice and sodas) your child drinks because the acid in them can erode away your child’s tooth enamel.
  10. Talk about how important these daily habits are and how by doing so your child is limiting the number of cavities he receives. Let him know that if he continues this as an adult he may look forward to a beautiful smile throughout his life!

Make sure you follow Commandments 2 and 7 and make an appointment for a dental checkup with Dallas dentist Dr. Darren Dickson. You can call our office for an appointment.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnami/

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