Helping your children understand the importance of good oral hygiene from a young age is important. The sooner they learn how to properly brush and floss, the better their chance of avoiding cavities, gingivitis and other tooth and gum-related health issues.
Along with daily brushing and flossing, it’s important for children to visit a pediatric dentist for regular checkups, as these can help avoid dental issues before they crop up. Teaching your kids the following oral health care habits will set them on the path for a lifetime of excellent oral hygiene.
How to Teach Children Good Oral Health Habits
Interested in your children learning good oral health habits? Read this blog about how to do so effectively.
1. Start Early
Parents should typically begin cleaning their child’s teeth as soon as they start erupting.
To start, scrub their teeth and gums gently with a clean and soft washcloth. Getting children used to having their mouth cleaned from the start makes it easier to get them to brush their teeth every day. Once they’re old enough to understand what you’re doing, you can talk them through the entire process. They’ll find brushing their own teeth more enjoyable and exciting once they’ve learned how, especially if it makes them feel more grown up.
Once they become accustomed to brushing properly, teach them how to floss. This will require more coordination and skill.
2. Lead By Example
Remember, good dental hygiene habits start with you. If your children see you brush and floss twice a day, they will most likely want to follow suit. Just make sure it looks enjoyable (even if it’s not). Since children like to mimic adults, you may see them properly brushing their teeth in no time.
3. Encourage Healthy Eating
Sugary snacks like chocolate, candy and ice cream can lead to major oral health concerns for children and adults alike. Sugar is the main cause of numerous oral health-related issues including tooth decay. Left unaddressed, this can lead to cavities which, in severe cases, may require the extraction of the tooth. Parents who restrict sugary foods tend to instill healthy eating habits from an early age. This in turn can reduce the risk of cavities and decay, among other long-term dental issues.
4. Find Fun Supplies
It’s a good idea to let children pick their own toothbrush, toothpaste and cup. There’s a wide range of kid-friendly products that can make children feel a bit more excited about brushing their teeth. For instance, there are many flavoured toothpastes specifically designed for young children. It’s unlikely your kid will run to the bathroom to use a minty toothpaste, but they may look forward to using a strawberry or watermelon-flavoured one.
5. Reward Them for Consistency
Reward your child for brushing their teeth properly by adding a sticker to a chart, or some other incentive that isn’t candy or chocolate! Being rewarded will encourage them to make dental hygiene a priority.
6. Use Different Educational Tools
There are many great books and online videos to help kids comprehend the importance of brushing and flossing, and how to do it efficiently. It’s best to start them early so the information gets instilled. Make it a point to read and watch together to ensure they understand its importance.
7. Choose a Suitable Pediatric Dentist
Of all these tips, finding a quality pediatric dentist is perhaps most important. These specialists in childhood tooth development know how to make kids feel comfortable so they don’t dread their next checkup. The best ones make a world of difference by prioritizing their little patients.
Teaching your children good oral hygiene habits ensures that their teeth and gums stay healthy into adulthood. This can in turn help them avoid many grownup dental problems. Follow the tips outlined here to ensure your child gets a smart start. Have questions or concerns regarding their oral hygiene? Contact a reputable pediatric dentist.