It is never too soon to start teaching kids good dental habits. After all, oral hygiene affects your overall health. Therefore, oral health contributes to a happy and healthy life that everyone wants their children to have. Additionally, habits you teach your kids early tend to stick. As kids’ teeth are prone to decay, enforcing regular teeth brushing as early as possible is essential. In this article, we will share our best tips to help you get those habits to stick!
Tips for teaching kids good dental habits
Much like you can help your kid develop a strong skeletal system by encouraging habits that help develop strong bones, you need to do the same when it comes to teeth. Let’s take a look at some of the practical things you can do.
#1: Set an example
It’s a well-known fact that kids learn by observing. That’s why the best (and the easiest) way to begin educating your kids about oral care is by doing it yourself.
Experts say a good dental care routine should look like this:
- daily flossing;
- brush teeth twice a day;
- use a brush with soft bristles;
- use fluoride toothpaste.
#2: The earlier you start, the better
Dentists recommend taking your child to their first dentist’s appointment when they turn one or six months after their first tooth comes through.
Going to the dentist that early is an excellent way to get informed on the dos and don’ts of oral habits. So, start on time and follow up with your dentist every six months. By instilling this habit early, you will avoid fear when visiting the dentist.
#3: Teach them the proper technique
Before you begin brushing, it would be good to get your kids involved. Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste to spark interest in dental care. This will make it seem like a fun activity instead of a tedious chore.
Once your child has chosen a superhero or a princess toothbrush, it’s time to learn to use it properly. Here are some tips on how to teach them to brush and floss the right way.
- Supervise them to make sure they hold their toothbrush properly;
- Show them how to brush along the gum line using small vertical or circular motions;
- In the beginning, floss picks might be a better option than regular floss.
- Choose age-adequate dental products that are FDA and ADA-approved.
- Avoid intensely flavored toothpaste, as children’s mouths are more sensitive.
- Remember to replace your and your child’s toothbrush every 2 to 3 months.
- Find a 2-3 minute teeth brushing song. Play it to make teeth brushing fun. This will help you ensure the whole process lasts long enough.
#4: Talk and educate your kids about health
As your kids get older, it is vital to help them understand the logic behind our health routines. Some of the topics you can cover are:
- Why Should I Brush My Teeth – a book appropriate for the little ones.
- What does a dentist do – Try being positive when talking to your kids about dentists since this can set the tone for their future appointments. Also, it would be good to do your research and choose a caring and patient dentist. This way, you will ensure your child’s dentists visits are as pleasant as possible.
- How do cavities form – Explain that the bacteria in our mouth turn sugar from the food we eat into acid. That acid and bacteria eat away our teeth causing cavities to form.
- Why do we need to floss – The space between our teeth is a hard-to-reach area, and dental floss is the best way to clean those areas.
- Ways our mouths affect our bodies – Many people aren’t aware that good mouth health helps prevent many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, etc.
- Why is our diet important – Even though brushing and flossing your teeth is the best combination, your oral health largely depends on your diet. The best diet for healthy teeth is one that is low on acids and sugars. Therefore, limited the amount of your kid’s sugar intake. For example, you can include them in your weekly meal planning. This will give you a chance to explain why eating healthy is important.
#5: Be aware of the care their age requires
Even though the basics are the same, different age groups will require different approaches. So, if you have an infant or a toddler, here are the things you need to pay attention to.
- Avoid sharing utensils with your kids or putting their pacifiers into your mouth because you can transfer cavity-causing germs to them.
- Gently wash your infant’s gums after feeding with a damp cloth.
- Once their teeth start to appear, gently brush them twice a day.
- Try not to give your kid a bedtime bottle, as you want your child’s mouth to stay clean throughout the night.
If you are a parent of a child in elementary school, it is crucial to stick to routines. Setting an example for your kids and showing them we need to take care of our mouths, even on busy or bad days, is of the utmost importance.
The teen age is when you might start noticing that your kid’s teeth aren’t straight. Consider talking to them about the benefits of wearing braces, such as a lower risk of tooth decay, gum disease, chronic headaches, TMJ, and finally, having straight teeth and a bright smile.
Final thoughts on teaching kids good dental habits
As you have probably taken a little extra care of your overall health in your pregnancy, it would be good to continue in the same manner. With a bit of effort, teaching kids good dental habits can be fun.
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