Brushing and flossing surely isn’t everybody’s favorite activity. Still, as adults, we are aware that we must brush our teeth before we go to bed to minimize the risks of cavities.
Everybody knows someone who regrets not taking good care of their teeth. That person might have even been forced to undergo dental procedures due to their negligence. That is a result of not having developed oral hygiene habits. According to the World Health Organization, half of the world’s population is affected by caries as a result of improper oral hygiene.
Good oral health habits should be developed early in the child’s life. Some parents might think this is not very important. After all, the baby teeth will be gone soon and after the permanent is out, that’s when children should learn to take good care of them.
The foundations of oral care habits should be laid down early in childhood. It doesn’t matter that the baby teeth are not permanent. If your child learns that brushing their teeth is a must they are very likely to stick to the habits they picked up even through adulthood.
If you were wondering where to start, here are the best ways of teaching your child about the importance of dental hygiene. (See also: Prevent Cavities: 7 Effective Oral Tips for Kids to Enjoy a Healthy Smile)
Practice What You Preach
Children are known to mimic the behavior of their parents. You can’t just tell your child that they should brush their teeth before bedtime if you are not doing the same! If they can’t see you following the advice you are giving them, they might get the impression that it is not that relevant after all.
Instead, brush your teeth together with your child. Explain to them why it is important and that spending a few minutes every day might make all the difference in the world later on. Make teeth brushing a fun activity instead of a chore.
Adapt to the Circumstances
If you are away for a family holiday, brushing your teeth will surely not be on the top of the list. Still, you should use this opportunity to teach your child that there is always a bit of time to dedicate to your teeth.
While on vacation, we all take a bit more relaxed outlook on life and might not always stick to the routines we have at home. But there is time for a quick rinse, right? Taking a bottle of mouthwash with you is the perfect way to keep your teeth healthy on the go. Have a rinsing competition with your child while on holiday and keep things fun. Tell your kid that whoever can rinse for longer will be the winner. Of course, let your child win since you don’t want them holding the liquid in their mouth for too long either.
Make Them NOT Dislike the Dentist
Is there anyone who likes going to the dentist? Probably not, but sometimes you just have to do it. Many children might experience fear from going to the dentist and that can follow them throughout adult life, especially if they had a bad experience while they were young.
You might even be one of those people who get the chills just by smelling the distinctive aroma of a dentist’s office. But for the sake of your child, you need to overcome your fear if you want them to have a positive attitude towards regular dental check-ups.
If possible, align your dentist appointment with your child’s. This will be a clear indicator for your child that visiting a dental clinic should be done regularly and not only when they start experiencing problems.
Choose a dentist who specializes in child dentistry and who knows how to make children feel relaxed during the visits.
Keep It Fun
A child is more likely to have a positive outlook on something if they are having fun while doing it. Next time when it is time to replace the toothbrush, get them a colorful one or one with a character from their favorite cartoon.
Keep track of their brushing habits by getting a cool stopwatch or even an hourglass that will measure two minutes. Also, don’t forget to teach them the golden rule of the American Dental Association – brush twice a day for two minutes.
Show Them Why
You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone, right? Sometimes, a fair warning of the consequences might be the key to developing good oral hygiene habits for life. Tell your children why taking care of their teeth is important and what might happen if they neglect their oral health. The point is not to scare them, but rather make them aware that good dental care can help them keep their teeth in a good state for their entire lives.
Raising children is definitely not an easy task. However, the earlier they pick up some good habits, the better it will be for them later on in life. Be patient and have fun!
About The Author:
Dr. Chris Campus is a dentist at Sorrento Dental Care. He loves sharing his knowledge with his patients so they can make better decisions about their oral health.