As a parent, you’ve got a lot of things to teach your children. From the basics like your tying shoes to more complex skills like staying safe online, kids count on their parents for instruction in all aspects of life.
It’s no different with oral care. By the time you’re an adult, you’ve developed good oral hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing are simply part of your daily routine. It’s not that way for your kids. They need you to show them the proper way to take care of their teeth so they develop their own healthy habits.
Help your children develop a lifelong oral care routine using these tips.
Show them the way
Young children want to be just like mom and dad. Let them see you care for your teeth in the morning and evening. They’ll quickly recognize that these activities are part of your daily routine, and they’ll copy your actions. Plus, brushing together can become a fun family activity everyone can enjoy! And remember, your kids will need some assistance brushing their teeth until they reach the age of six or seven. Brushing together will allow you to monitor how well they’re able to take care of their teeth and determine when they can do it independently.
Let them pick out their supplies
Getting kids involved in the shopping process will ensure buy-in their oral care routine. Let them pick out a toothbrush in their favorite color or their favorite character. Show them options for age-appropriate toothpastes and let them select the one that appeals to them. For kids over three, use a toothpaste that contains fluoride so their teeth get the nutrients they need to be strong and healthy. Kids under three are more likely to swallow toothpaste so they shouldn’t use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Drink lots of water
Your children should drink plenty of water to keep their mouths clean, and they avoid drinking beverages that are high in sugar. While many kids love to drink sports drinks, juices and sodas, help your children understand how these drinks can damage their teeth. Once a child understands the ramifications of their actions, they’re more likely to make better choices on their own,
Establish a routine
Use a timer to let kids know when it’s time to brush their teeth in the morning and evenings. They’ll get used to doing it on their own and won’t need to be reminded or asked to brush. Even with these reminders, ensure your children understand the importance of brushing after eating sugary snacks like candy and soda. Removing remnants of these foods from their teeth is vitally important to preventing decay and erosion.
Time brushing with a song
Songs make brushing fun and give kids an idea of how long they should be brushing. Find silly songs about brushing on the Internet that your kids will enjoy listening to while they brush. Make sure they understand that need to keep brushing until the song is over. This will help them brush long enough to clean their teeth adequately.
Show kids the importance of good oral care
Even with good oral care, it’s possible that your child will develop a cavity. Don’t let that discourage your child! Make sure he or she understands that future cavities can be prevented if they take good care of their teeth through brushing and flossing. And you should never make going to the dentist seem like a punishment or the consequences for not brushing.
Get routine dental care
Everyone in the family needs to have regular dental checkups to make sure their teeth and gums stay healthy. Regular visits should occur every six months, starting as soon as your child has his or her first tooth. X-rays will be taken, your teeth cleaned and your teeth and gums examined for any potential issues. That way, your dentist can address problems before they can too large.
Have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us today to discuss your child’s oral health or to make an appointment for a checkup.