One of the most important things any parent can do is teach good, healthy habits for their children from a young age. Unfortunately, one of the biggest areas of health that is often neglected is oral health. Many of the issues that stem from a lack of oral care can be avoided if healthy habits are practiced. As the parent, you can help enforce some of these healthy habits. With enough repetition, you could help make these habits become a part of a healthy routine. Here are five easy ways that you can teach young kids about healthy dental habits.
Brushing Your Teeth
Teeth brushing should be a fundamental practice that parents instill into their children from a young age. According to the American Dental Association, people should brush their teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals. This is done to help clean out excess food particles that may get stuck in teeth and remove the mouth of bacteria. Commonly, brushing teeth is done before bed and in the morning. One way you can make sure your kids do this is to supervise them in the bathroom.
While they are getting ready for school, accompany them to the bathroom and make sure their teeth are brushed. Before going to bed and tucking them in, do the same thing. The key behind this strategy is to develop a pattern of repetition. Once kids make brushing teeth a part of their daily routine, it will become second nature to them. Teeth brushing is the foundation of good oral hygiene, and it should not be neglected.
If there is one oral hygiene practice that is constantly neglected, it is the act of flossing. This is because many do not like having to manually floss in between teeth to get to places that a toothbrush may not be able to reach.
Despite that, flossing has proven to be an essential defense to prevent teeth decay, breakdown, plaque buildup and bacteria from entering. It could also be said that flossing is just as, if not, more important than brushing your teeth. You could demonstrate how to floss teeth in front of them, and watch them replicate the action back towards you. Then, while they are brushing their teeth, you could ensure that they are at least able to floss while they are doing so.
Some do not like the manual floss on a string because of its tedious nature. You could try for some alternatives such as teeth picks that are already lined with floss towards the middle. Some are also coated with fluoride and other helpful products that can fight many forms of teeth decay.
Just as manually brushing your teeth and flossing are helpful to fight many forms of teeth decay and gum disease, maintaining a healthy diet is equally as important. It is crucial that children learn to stay away from salty foods such as chips, candy, sweets, and carbonated beverages. At most, these should be ingested with the greatest moderation. Prolonged consumption of sugar and salty foods can break down teeth at a very swift rate. It is especially tempting for children to get a craving for these kinds of foods which is why you should take the initiative that they learn healthy habits.
If you pack your children lunch, be sure to add some fresh fruit and vegetables. Certain fruits and vegetables happen to be high in fiber, and this has a natural detergent effect in the mouth. Aside from manual care of your teeth, engaging in a healthy diet will be your best defense against an abundance of teeth disorders.
Flouride has the capacity to make your teeth more resistant to bacteria and acid. This will help strengthen the enamel and prevent tooth decay. When brushing your teeth or using mouthwash, you should make sure that fluoride is one of the ingredients, as it is important for keeping your mouth fresh and your teeth healthy. If you want high-quality products, you should purchase toothpaste and mouthwash that have the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval.
A major problem that plagues many children is cavities because of many poor habits, but fortunately, fluoride helps strengthen weak spots in the teeth as well as exposed roots. However, it is recommended that if the child is under 6 years old, a “pea size” dab of fluoride should be used. Drinking water with fluoride has also been suggested to help expedite the teeth-healing process, though you should consult your dentist before recommending your child for a high intake.
Regular Dentist Checkups
Biannual checkups with dentists such as the ones at Newnham Family Dental are essential for your oral health to make sure that there is no damage to your teeth and detect potential deformities before they become severe. You should go to your doctor for regular cleanings at least once every six months. Medical professionals can then determine for themselves whether or not your children’s oral hygiene routine is effective and how you can help them along the way.
While going to the dentist can be a nervous experience for the dentist, ensure that this is completely necessary for their oral health. Consistent appointments with the dentist will ensure that a child’s oral hygiene is clear and detect any potential hazards early.
These are a few ways that you can help teach young kids about healthy dental habits. A clean mouth is a happy mouth!