If you find yourself battling with your children to up their oral hygiene game, you are not alone. Parents and children often have stand-offs over dental health. Children do not realize how important their oral health is while parents worry about it constantly. Teaching your kids about proper dental health practices does not have to be a daily fight. Here are some easy ways you can drive the point home and get them interested in their dental health.
Introduce Oral Health Practices Early
Dental health starts in infancy. You can start getting your child used to oral hygiene as young as six months. A soft damp cloth can be used to gently wipe the gums. This “oral hygiene” practice has two benefits. It gets your child used to having their mouth cleaned, and it simply becomes a part of their daily routine.
Ideally, the time to start visiting the dentist with your child is the age of one. Yes, you read that right. By a year old, your child should have many of their primary teeth in place. This is the time to introduce your child to the dental office. The first checkup by the dentist should be at around the age of one.
Teeth come in quickly in childhood, and the sooner you start taking your child to the dentist to check on the placement and health of their teeth, the better. Early interventions are typically the best way to address both minor and major dental health concerns.
By the time your child is seven years old, they could be outfitted with braces. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, this is the prime age to be evaluated for braces. Things happen quickly for developing teeth. Getting started early will provide your child with every advantage for good oral health.
Provide Your Kids With the Tools They Need
Brushing teeth and flossing can be fun with the right tools. There are musical toothbrushes, toothbrushes made specifically for children, and other oral hygiene tools that will make brushing and flossing fun.
Many parents are not aware that a toothbrush should be replaced with a fresh one every three months. Of course, following an illness, you should also replace a toothbrush. Speak to your child’s dental hygienist about the right toothbrush for your child’s age.
Prepare a travel kit of dental hygiene tools that your child can take to school or daycare with them and keep in their locker or their cubby. It is especially important for children with braces to have access to the tools that they need to care for their teeth away from home. There are about 5.8 million kids that attend private school and about 50 million kids that attend public school in the United States. Imagine if brushing your teeth at school became the norm! What a difference it would make to oral health care for children.
Model Proper Behavior
Every parent wants their child to enjoy good oral health, but not every parent models good oral health practices. Let your child see you go to the dentist, and let them see you worrying about flossing and brushing. Practice what you preach. Children will model the behavior that they witness, so be a good example to your child.
Talk to your children about why it is important to have good oral health. You can start teaching your child about oral health at a very young age by reading them books that talk about going to the dentist and brushing their teeth. Make good oral health a family priority.
Get Your Family Dentist On Board
Your dentist can be an excellent partner when it comes to teaching your kids about dental health. Enlist the help of your child’s dentist to make teaching your child about oral health easy and fun.
Your family’s oral health is imperative, so it’s up to you to teach your children proper dental health practices. With the right tools and approach, your kids will be aware of their oral health and take care of their teeth into adulthood.