You probably heard parenting advice about training your kids young and training them right. This context applies to many life lessons, good habits, and valuable teachings. And in terms of dental hygiene, the same advice applies. Your kids need to learn the importance of oral health as early as possible.
Fortunately, parents can encourage their kids to embrace the task of caring for their dental hygiene through various fun and easy ways. Instilling good oral hygiene habits in your children from a young age will yield healthier teeth and gums. It’s imperative for you as the parent to become the first teacher when it comes to brushing, flossing, and having regular dental checkups.
Consider the following ways to encourage your children to practice good oral hygiene:
1. Schedule Regular Dental Clinic Visits
It’s natural for children to feel scared or intimidated when you bring them to the clinic or hospital. However, if you set a routine for such visits, they can adjust themselves and get used to it eventually. One great piece of advice is for parents to visit a reputable pediatric dental services provider as soon as their baby grows their first set of teeth. This will make your children feel more at ease and comfortable with your family dentist. Also, there are many child-friendly dental clinics to choose from, allowing children to feel more relaxed in their environment.
It’s important to practice going to dental clinics as a family and to make it seem like a natural part of your routines. Never use it as punishment when your child did something wrong. You can instill the perception that a dental clinic is a positive place to visit and that the dentist is a family friend. The sooner your child develops positive associations with the dentist, the more likely they will be to keep up with appointments throughout their lives.
2. Consider Gifting Them With Electric Brushes
Kids are naturally curious about everything, so one way to keep them enthusiastic and excited about brushing their teeth is to give them new toothbrushes. One great tip is to introduce them to electric toothbrushes. They work as effectively as conventional ones, but your kids will probably adore its automated features. Electric toothbrushes are also considered more convenient and easier to use by many people, and this is an ideal choice for your kids, too.
If you’re not confident about how your child thoroughly and carefully brushes their teeth, you can rely on electric ones to do the entire job. Since you might not be able to brush beside them all the time, allowing them to use the electric one will put your mind at ease. You can rest easy that their teeth have been cleaned carefully through the automatic brushes. This dental tool also comes with speed control, so you can adjust it accordingly. Choose the best electric toothbrush for your kid and take advantage of all the unique features to elevate their brushing experience even more.
3. Make Brushing And Flossing A Fun Activity Together
Your children look up to you as their role model, so one way to inspire them to care for their dental hygiene is to perform the tasks together. You can get a child interested in oral care by brushing and flossing beside them. Chances are your kids want to follow and shadow every movement that you do, so you can teach them better when you perform brushing and flossing with them.
Try to brush your teeth together at least twice a day. You can insert some inspirational or educational stories in between and make your children understand why you need to take good care of your dental health. It is natural for children to want to participate in activities like cleaning their teeth when they think it’s fun. According to your dentist’s advice, try to teach them the different brushing strokes. Aside from having these learning experiences together, these are short but crucial bonding moments that strengthen your parent-child relationship.
4. Encourage A Healthy Diet
One thing that disrupts good oral health is your food intake. This applies to both children and adults. Sweets are the ultimate cause of tooth decay, and it’s essential to regulate how much sweet foods your children eat at an early age. Sugars and starches are consumed in the mouth, which releases acids that chip away at the enamel of the teeth. Over time, they can form tooth cavities.
Therefore, it’s important to instigate a good healthy diet for your children. Although you may not want to completely restrain them from eating candies, cakes, chocolates, and ice cream, you can simply encourage the right portion. This goes the same for consuming sweet and acidic beverages. When everything is consumed in moderation, your kids won’t have to struggle with teeth diseases. Encouraging your children to eat healthily will result in better oral health and overall good health.
In addition, Serenity Kids provides helpful advice on preventing sugar bugs.
Start by swapping starches and sugary foods with healthier alternatives like meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, and vegetables. Be creative with meal preparation to encourage your children to eat meals rich in these foods.
If your child has special needs, talk to a nutritionist or dietician to determine the most suitable meals. Many children on the autism spectrum develop highly particular tastes, especially for sweets, bread, and pasta.
Parents can consult a pediatrician or child psychiatrist to help reduce disruptive eating behaviors and reinforce positive conditioning. This will help the kids transition into a proper diet at their own pace without a fuss. They can also seek the help of a pediatric dentist to assess and monitor their oral health.
5. Teach Your Kids To Rinse their Mouth After Eating
Your kids don’t need to brush their teeth with toothpaste after every meal. In fact, overbrushing can be dangerous for them as it can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums. Therefore, it’s suitable to advise them to gargle or rinse their mouth with water simply is sufficient enough to eliminate food residues on the mouth. This serves as a quick flush to wash away any leftovers or bacteria on the mouth.
Unless their pediatric dentist says otherwise, don’t allow your kids to use mouthwash. Children have underdeveloped motor control and swallowing reflexes, affecting their ability to gargle properly and spit the mouthwash out. They may experience nausea and vomiting if they swallow it.
6. Encourage Them To Use Fluoride
Fluoride makes the enamel harder to penetrate, making acidic substances more difficult to penetrate the teeth. You can seek recommendations from your dentist on what fluoride toothpaste is best for your kids. Consider supplements, too, if they suggest it. Fluoride is typically present in toothpaste, but toothpaste alone is not effective at protecting a child’s teeth. It’s best to seek your dentist’s expertise and follow their advice about fluoride. Ensure not to overuse them as it can lead to adverse effects like tooth discoloration.
The American Dental Association advises parents and caregivers touse pea-sized fluoride toothpaste for children aged two to six. It also recommends brushing with water under two years of age.
With the oral care tips mentioned above, you can be more confident that your children will follow through with their good dental habits. Children should have routine dental checkups at least twice a year or depending on their dentist’s recommendation. The key is to find a reputable dental clinic that your child will grow to be accustomed to visiting, so they’ll understand how important it is for their dental health.