Being a kid is hard, right? All these rules and routines that they have to learn to follow, and oral care is not always the easiest. Some kids love taking care of their teeth from a very young age and others, well… let’s just say they need a little push. It can get as annoying for you as it is for them and you may feel like letting it slide from time to time. But trust me, you want to get them into a healthy, consistent routine and love for their mouth and teeth. Once they really understand the power of a healthy mouth and how it relates to a healthy immune system, it will click. Until then, you may have to nag or encourage them to get into these healthy mouth habits!
Be a Dental Role Model
Parents, look at your habits! You have kids who are constantly imitating you, so set the example for a healthy set of teeth.
Teach your children well and if they’re under 3, show them how to measure a rice sized amount of toothpaste and brush with them until they can grasp the concept. When their teeth are touching, teach them how to floss and rinse.
Every 6 months is the norm for routine dental check-ups. Make sure you keep your appointments and make it a positive experience. Even going together as a family can be helpful. The kids can see that their parents make it a priority. Typically, a good time to start is around your child’s 1st birthday.
Keep communication open when you get close to your next dentist appointment. Answer any questions your child may have and when you are at the appointment, let the dentist know of any concerns you may have.
Keep those germs to yourself. It is pretty self-explanatory, but do not share utensils, bottles, pacifiers, etc. to reduce the introduction of bacteria to your mouth.
If you’re having trouble motivating your child, set goals and give rewards for progress with their dental duties.
Sealants for your child’s teeth may be something to consider; as they can help prevent cavities from forming.
We all hear the 2 minutes, twice a day – and that is still the most widely accepted amount of time from dentists. Make sure you watch that your child doesn’t brush in one area the whole time.
Eat healthy, as mentioned, the amount and types of foods you eat and how often can affect your intake of bacteria which can cause cavities. Let’s aim for less plaque, less decay, and keep those teeth strong!
We know how important it is to develop self-care in our children, and dental hygiene is a very important part. Working as a family to keep on track is one of the best ways to get everyone on board. Just a little push, maybe a contest, and reward (maybe not a sugary treat.) Keep up with the consistency to help your kids care about their oral health!