Doctors urge families to make oral hygiene habits a priority

MADISON, Wis. — As we all get used to the new normal, it’s important to keep your family healthy — not just to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but to develop habits to live a healthy lifestyle.

Oral health can significantly affect your overall health, so doctors want to make sure kids learn good oral hygiene habits at a young age.

SSM Health family physician Dr. Preyanshu Parekh said parents should start brushing their child’s teeth as soon as they grow in, even at just 4 months old. He said the recommendation is brushing 2 times a day, 2 minutes each.

Parents might have to get creative to encourage this for little kids. He suggested playing the kid’s favorite song while they brush.

“Kids love to be with their parents, so if you can set up a session where you can both brush your teeth together, and the kids can learn from it, that encourages the kids to continue with good healthy habits,” said Parekh.

He said oral hygiene also affects nutrition, speech and facial appearance development. It’s important to prevent cavities and infections that could spread and cause bigger issues.

While the type of toothbrush doesn’t matter much, you should always brush with toothpaste with fluoride.