How to Help Your Kids Create Good Oral Hygiene Habits?
Having a good oral hygiene routine equals a lifetime of a healthy smile, and the earlier your child establishes it, the better! Still, the road ahead might be rocky. More often than not, kids show resistance towards adopting certain habits, especially if they see them as overly repetitive and boring. Therefore, it’s up to us parents to help them create a consistent oral hygiene routine and teach them about the importance of taking good care of their pearly whites. Below, we offer some actionable tips on how to do it right, so keep reading.
Actively Participate in Their Brushing and Flossing Routine
According to the CDC, over half (52%) of children aged 6-8 have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth. That’s why the American Dental Association suggests you start brushing your baby’s teeth with water the moment they erupt. That said, taking an active part in your child’s brushing and flossing routine from early on creates space for you to teach them how to do it efficiently and properly. Keep in mind that your kid will be able to brush their teeth 100% independently once they’re 7 or 8 years old, so you will have more than enough time to monitor their progress. Be patient as you help them master those brushing and flossing abilities and their healthy smile will be your biggest reward. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and apply a smear of the fluoridated toothpaste (or non-fluoridated toothpaste) if you have a baby or a toddler. Once the child reaches their third birthday and fully develops their spitting reflex, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to pea-sized.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth in Front of Them
Life has become pretty hectic nowadays but that shouldn’t be an excuse for us to spend less time with our kids. Take a small amount of time every day to create memorable moments with your kid out of something as ordinary as brushing teeth. Try to be their best role model and rest assured they will cherish and appreciate it deeply. That said, don’t hesitate to brush and floss your teeth in front of them and they will start to look up to you. Later, you can do it in front of the mirror together. Making funny faces and laughing out loud is highly encouraged!
Make It All a Part Of the Game
Enrich your brushing routine with fun elements such as singing and dancing. There are lots of oral hygiene themed songs out there, so you can get out of your way to make a cool playlist for your little one so that they can enjoy the process as much as possible. Also, listening to the song while brushing will ensure they tend to their pearly whites for a recommended amount of time (which should be two minutes minimum, at least twice a day).
Use Positive Language and Promote Healthy Nutrition at Home
When you speak about your dental visits with your child, use positive language to describe them. That way, they will be less likely to develop anxiety related to their own dental visits. Also, make sure you pick healthy foods that aren’t rich in sugars and starch and also ensure their water intake is optimal, as this plays an important role in keeping their dental health in check.
Give Them Small Rewards
What better way to motivate a child to stick to their oral hygiene routine than encouraging them with adequate rewards? It doesn’t have to be anything big but they will still appreciate it a lot! You can also let them choose their toothbrush and pick their toothpaste flavor. They will be thrilled to have dental supplies featuring their favorite cartoon or comic book characters and will be more likely to brush their teeth regularly. Finally, you can plan some sort of a fun activity following their dental visit. In time, they will start to see a dental office as a friendly place.
Acquiring good oral hygiene habits early in life is paramount for dental health that will last well into adulthood. You can have a key role in your child’s development of these habits, and it can be a rewarding experience on so many levels. Yes, some resistance will be present and some days will be easier and others harder but you should be consistent nevertheless. Give your best and effort won’t betray you; they will learn how to take great care of their teeth and will become independent in this segment of their life before you even know it. Good luck!
Do you have any useful tips for creating strong oral hygiene habits? Do you think we forgot to mention something? Don’t hesitate to share your tips in the comments below!