Tooth decay is the most common disease among children so it’s important that you help your kids to develop good oral hygiene habits early. Kids need to know the importance of routine brushing and flossing to help them keep their baby and adult teeth healthy and cavity-free.
Parents are the best source of learning for children in most subjects. Kids love to imitate and learn from watching more than you may assume. Allowing your kids to observe your own good dental habits is a great start for them to develop their own healthy routines.
Children that start brushing as early as two-years-old are more likely to continue with good hygiene habits throughout their lives. Although most families can rely on dental insurance to cover any childhood cavities, it’s best to avoid unnecessary visits to the dentist’s chair by starting your brushing early.
It’s up to you to set an example and create a regular routine that can be fun for your kids to help protect their teeth and oral health. In this article, we will look at a few ways that parents can help their kids develop good oral hygiene habits.
Set An Example
Kids often pick up both their good and bad habits from their parents. Children are fascinated by watching their parents and learn how to navigate the world by mimicking behavior. That being said, kids that watch their parents properly taking care of their teeth are more likely to adopt healthy oral hygiene habits.
Let your children watch you brushing and flossing as early as possible. The fascination will turn into a curiosity that can be turned into action once they are old enough. Let them go through the motions when they are infants by playing with a toothbrush and making the brushing motions.
Once your child’s teeth start to emerge it’s time to start teaching them the right ways to take care of them. Children should have their first dental checkup by the time they are one so that your dentist can monitor their teething process and be alerted to any growth problems.
It’s important to get your kids accustomed to going to the dentist’s office. Give them time to establish trust and have a positive experience to eliminate any fear or apprehension that can stretch into adulthood.
There are several great children’s books available that focus on dental hygiene to help you introduce the subject to your kids in a fun way.
Make It Fun
Brushing and flossing should never be presented as a hassle or a punishment. The more fun you can create during the process, the more likely your kids are to enjoy the process.
One of the best ways to bring some fun to brushing and flossing is to let each child pick out their own brush. Child themed and flavored toothpaste is also a great way to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.
When you start, it’s a good idea to brush together as a family. This makes the process more inclusive and fun for kids and they are less likely to try to avoid it. You can even make up a fun brushing song to sing together as you clean your teeth.
Dental hygiene should be a regular part of your daily schedule. The more routine you can make teeth brushing, the easier it will become a seamless part of the day. Brushing in the morning and before bed, every day can help kids to establish a habit.
Every parent knows the power of a small bribe and how it can motivate kids to do what you need them to do. Now, we aren’t saying that kids should be paid to brush their teeth but, a bit of a reward can produce a great result.
A simple charting system to keep track of proper teeth brushing with gold stars or stickers can help kids to see their accomplishments easily and understand their goals. You can even determine a small reward, like a trip to the ice cream parlor for a clean dental visit and let your child know that they have done a great job.
The habits that you develop while your children are young can help them to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits that will last through their life. Start early and let your child learn from your example when you introduce brushing and flossing. Make brushing fun and it will never become a chore that your kids try to avoid. Helping your kids to form good oral hygiene habits can not only save you money