We wish we could tell you that we are now in the dental health world because we knew how essential teeth were when we were little, but kids aren’t always aware of the importance of good dental habits. Parents play a vital role in helping children understand why caring for their teeth is so important.
Even if kids don’t fully appreciate the value of simple things like brushing and flossing, we know that all parents understand the importance of a good oral hygiene routine. How to teach kids these useful habits? Why should you do it at all if baby teeth will fall out anyway?
Why Should You Start Early?
Taking good care of our teeth is something that should stay with us for life. Anyone can avoid many complications in their lives through good dental care. People can suffer anything from speech development issues to serious health problems if they don’t care enough about their oral hygiene.
Besides, teaching the value of a good oral hygiene routine at an early age helps any kid develop a sense of responsibility towards their dental health. Adults who suffer from any number of dental issues like periodontal disease or cavities may have lacked proper training during childhood.
The CDC reported a while back that a little more than one in every ten kids had reported some type of tooth decay or cavities. Tooth decay is not an isolated problem that only concerns a child’s dentist, but it may also result in overarching difficulties with development, learning, and recreation.
Fortunately, tooth decay is preventable through good oral hygiene habits, which is why we want to stress the importance of teaching your children about good dental care.
How to Teach Your Child the Value of Dental Hygiene?
If you want your children to live a happier and healthy life, you should consider helping them develop good oral hygiene habits. Dental health is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” type of thing.
The ultimate goal is not to scare them with creepy stories of their great great grandparents who had all their teeth fall off or just how terrible it would be to have a cavity. We would recommend showing them how good it feels to have a set of clean and healthy teeth and how to achieve this.
Help your kids build life-long habits for good oral care. Join them when it is time to brush your teeth and floss whenever possible. Try to make these activities as appealing as possible by letting your children choose their toothbrushes or toothpaste that works best for them. Most importantly, your example of caring for your teeth is essential.
Let’s Talk About Brushing Their Teeth
Generally speaking, most people understand the importance of brushing your teeth well. The role of fluoride toothpaste in preventing tooth decay is undeniable, but you should not use toothpaste on children under the age of 2.
Infants cannot spit out what’s in their mouths, so they are at risk of swallowing toothpaste. You should brush your baby’s teeth as soon as they start to erupt, but for their first two years, you can stick to using only water. You can try using some fluoride-free toothpaste during infancy. Please consult with your child’s dentist when to switch to fluoride toothpaste.
Certain activities can pique a child’s interest in learning how to brush their teeth. Toys and tooth mock-ups help when teaching toddlers about brushing techniques.
A study analyzes how these aids helped in a preschool environment, but keeping your child entertained while learning good oral hygiene is also essential in a home setting. Try singing, playing, and rewarding good toothbrushing.
You may want to follow some initial recommendations while your kid matures and develops an appreciation for this essential part of their routine. Here are some timeless pieces of advice you can give your child:
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
- Brush gently in a circular motion.
- Brush for 2 minutes.
- Brush the tongue.
- Avoid fluoride toothpaste during infancy.
What About Flossing?
Flossing is a vital part of anyone’s oral hygiene routine. Where brushing teeth is the primary way to remove food residue from your mouth, making sure you floss is the one-two hit combo you need to make sure that you don’t give harmful bacteria any chance of ruining your smile.
You won’t need to teach your kid about flossing until some time later in their life. People may want to begin flossing their baby’s teeth only after two or more have erupted and are touching. Of course, flossing itself may be new and uncomfortable for the child.
You should consider starting your child with dental floss picks and slowly move to traditional floss. Let your child choose the product that is most appealing to them to make it easier. You should also join your kids during flossing time to make it a fun family activity. Remember to follow these tips to make flossing as efficient as it should be:
- Take a piece of dental floss, twirl it around your middle fingers and hold it with your index and thumb to manipulate.
- Arrange the dental floss in a “C” shape. Slide it around the sides of your tooth and under the gumline.
- Use a new section of dental floss between every pair of teeth to avoid reintroducing food leftovers.
You can also follow along some recommendations posted by WebMD in a video on their website.
A Baby’s Dentist Can Help You Out
Parents should consider taking their children to the dentist by their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts. Here our Dentistry For Children in Aurora at Epic Dentistry for Kids, you will get all the help you may need from a professional trained to work with younger patients.
Visiting the dentist’s office early in your child’s development will allow them to get all the help they need to maintain good oral hygiene and avoid dental decay.
We hope to see you soon. Get in contact with us on the phone, or set an appointment online.