While everyone knows that brushing, flossing and rinsing are important steps to teach their children about oral hygiene, few know the ins and outs of the mouth and the role that each part plays. For children, it is often easier for them to understand why they need to do something – like brush their teeth – if they know that there is a valid reason – like the uses for their pearly whites.

So here are a few key parts of the mouth that kids should know about when trying to develop proper oral hygiene habits:

Mucosa: Tell your little one to open their mouth wide and look in the mirror. Anything that is not tooth is covered by something called the oral mucosa. It is a mucous membrane – similar to the ones that line your nose and inner ears – and works to defend your whole body from germs! The best way to protect the mucosa is to make sure that you eat a keratin rich diet – which will also help with hair and nail growth!

Tongue: "The tongue is a powerful muscle covered in specialized mucosal tissue that includes your taste buds," writes Everyday Health. "The tongue is not just important to your oral health — it's also considered an integral part of the body's digestive system — it's responsible for moving food to your teeth, and when chewed food is ready to be swallowed, the tongue moves it to the back of the throat so it can proceed into the esophagus."

Salivary Glands: These glands create saliva that helps you break down the food you eat into digestible particles. That saliva also works to wash away bad bacteria from gums and teeth to keep them clean and healthy.

The best thing that your child can do on a day-to-day basis is to brush, floss and rinse out with mouthwash twice a day. Making these three steps a part of their oral care routine will lessen the risk of orthodontic issues down the line.

When it comes to making the best oral care decisions for your child, it's never too early to schedule an initial consultation with a pediatric orthodontist. To learn more about our practice and whether orthodontia treatment options like braces may be right for your children, contact KidsBracesNYC today.