If you’re taking your child to the dentist for the first time, you’ll want to ensure their visit is as comfortable — and fun — as possible. Going to the dentist is a habit that will continue into adulthood, so it’s important to ensure your child is able to associate visiting the dentist as a positive experience from early on.

Dental practices such as Growing Smiles offer unique dental services specifically geared towards children, including preventative education. Preventative education teaches your child proactive ways to care for their teeth, so their smile will stay healthy as they grow up. For example, hygienists at Growing Smiles will set your child up with kid-friendly toothbrush: a soft brush with a small head. This type of toothbrush is strong enough to remove plaque from your child’s teeth, while still protecting their sensitive gums.While manual toothbrushes can do a great job in keeping teeth clean, electric toothbrushes have been found to be the most effective in controlling plaque. If you’re looking for a way to motivate your child to brush their teeth, an electric toothbrush will surely do the trick — your child will look forward to the fun, vibrating motions of an electric brush.

What’s equally as important as finding a good toothbrush? Effective toothpaste. Ensure you find a brand of toothpaste with fluoride (if your child can spit by themselves), such as Colgate Total or Crest Multicare. Dentists at Growing Smiles will also advise on the best ways your child can brush their teeth — using a pea-sized amount and working through their whole mouth.

As a parent, one of the most difficult oral hygiene habits to pass down to kids is regular flossing. This is a habit that even many adults continue to struggle with, making it all the more challenging for kids to want to incorporate into their dental routine. One of the best ways to encourage regular flossing is to explain why it’s necessary at all. Brushing can only reach so many areas of your mouth, as the areas in between each tooth are too narrow for a toothbrush’s bristles to clean. So, flossing is the only way to ensure that our entire mouth stays clean and healthy. Kids will need a piece of floss that’s around two feet long, which they can glide in between each of their teeth. One way to approach flossing is think of it as though you’re giving each of your teeth a hug! Ultimately, if parents model flossing for their kids, it’s more likely they will follow suit — making flossing as regular as brushing.