Encouraging good oral health habits is one of the most important things you can do for your kids’ mouth, teeth and gums

MINNEAPOLIS – The beginning of a new school year is a perfect time to brush up on your kids’ oral hygiene and ensure best practices are part of their daily routines. Encouraging good oral health habits is one of the most important things you can do for your kids’ mouth, teeth and gums.

“Good oral health starts at home,” said Dr. Kevin Dens, president of the Minnesota Dental Association. “Parents are the most important role models for their children to encourage healthy behaviors. Show your kids how much you value oral hygiene by letting them see you brush and floss your teeth, eat a balanced diet and visit your dentist regularly. Most children also need an adult’s physical assistance to do a thorough job of brushing and flossing until they are 7-8 years old.  The beginning of a new academic year is the perfect time to revive healthy habits for both you and your children by reestablishing and monitoring daily morning and bedtime routines.”

As you gear up for a new school year, here are four easy ways to help your kids care for their mouth, teeth and gums to ensure bright, healthy smiles:

  1. Schedule dental appointments. Your kids should visit their dentist every six months for an oral exam and professional cleaning.
  2. Replace your kids’ toothbrushes. Frayed bristles on a worn toothbrush are less effective at cleaning teeth and can harbor bacteria, so be sure to replace your kids’ toothbrushes every three to four months. Include new toothbrushes at the top of your back-to-school shopping list.
  3. Brush twice a day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Encourage your kids to brush first thing in the morning and just before bedtime using these brushing tunes kids will love.
  4. Floss every day. Cleaning between teeth helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line that aren’t reached by brushing. Add flossing to your kids’ daily bedtime routine to guarantee consistency.

For additional information about oral hygiene, visit www.mouthhealthy.org or www.mndental.org.


The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.