When it comes to our children’s health, thinking about the basics: doctor check-ups, healthy eating, exercise, and hygiene are no-brainers. But something that we don’t always think about (and really should!) is dental care. Most of us are tuned in to the six-month cleanings, routine exams, and of course, brushing twice per day. But teaching our kids the importance of dental hygiene goes beyond that.
Here are a few no-brainer tips to help you take care of your kids’ teeth:
Make Dental Hygiene Fun
Okay, this may sound silly at first, but one way to really help your child invest in his or her teeth is to make it fun!
Sing a song while they’re brushing and giggle at the toothpaste mess around your mouth. Make it a competition with another family member for the freshest breath or cleanest mouth. Buy their favorite cartoon-themed toothbrush, or even better, put money towards a fancy brush that spins and essentially self-cleans as many experts say electric toothbrushes are better than manual.
Depending on your child’s age, you can also create a sticker chart or some sort of incentive for brushing, flossing, and keeping up with hygiene. As your child gets older, the habits will be built and the desire to have a fresh mouth will come naturally.
Flossing is essential! And despite the fact that it only takes a few minutes to do, many of us skip it (especially adults!) But as parents, it’s our job to instill healthy habits in our children from a young age. Flossing goes above and beyond basic brushing and can really make a big difference in your child’s oral hygiene.
Without flossing, debris can get stuck between teeth and eventually decay, resulting in bad breath, tooth breakdown, and in most serious cases, gum disease and other more serious problems.
Flossing doesn’t have to be challenging, either. There are so many fun and kid-friendly flossers to make the process easier. You can get flossers that are fluoride-coated for a fun (and healthy!) flavor or ones that are hand-held (like these animal-shaped ones!) as opposed to string to make it easier on tiny fingers.
Create A Routine
One of the easiest ways to encourage dental hygiene is to create a routine — both in and out of your home. This includes morning and evening care that can easily translate to when your child is at a relative or friend’s house. It also means seeing the dentist regularly for cleanings and care beyond the day-to-day.
If you really want to take care of your kids’ teeth, remember that the healthy habits start with you. Model good behavior and create a schedule that helps your children learn when to take care of their teeth, how long to take care of their teeth (at least one minute for brushing and one minute for flossing), and when they’ll see a dentist for check-ups. Teach your children that they should try to avoid unhealthy or damaging foods (sugary products, soda, or dyes) and brush slowly, deliberately, and purposefully.
When it comes to dental hygiene, no one is perfect but teaching healthy habits (and modeling them!) early on can help you and your family get and stay on the right track.
Featured Image Credit: Quang Tri Nguyen