We all want our kids to be healthy. We make sure they eat right, that they get enough exercise, and that they go to the doctor for regular checkups. In addition to all of this, it’s also important that we instill healthy dental habits. Taking care of your mouth is vitally important, and the habits you establish as a child can last you your entire life. Doing so will help them to avoid dental procedures down the line, such as filling cavities, foot canals, or getting dental implants. To that end, here are the habits you should be instilling in your children regarding their oral health and how you can go about doing it.
Make Sure They Brush Every Day
First, we have the most obvious habit. Brushing your teeth is the best thing you can do for good oral health. To instill this habit in your children, make sure they are brushing their teeth at least twice a day. Show them the proper way to brush, including the motions to make and how long they should brush for. If it helps, consider getting your child a better tasting toothpaste to make teeth brushing a little more bearable. Stress the importance of brushing their teeth before they go to school, and again before they go to bed.
Schedule Regular Trips to the Dentist
No one really likes going to the dentist. It’s time out of our schedules that we must spend with a stranger’s hand in our mouths. But going to the dentist is critical if you want to have a healthy mouth and catch any potential problems early. Your kid doesn’t get much say in their own schedule when their young, so go ahead and just schedule an appointment for them. To make it more bearable, try to squeeze the dentist in between some other fun activities.
Another thing you can do is make sure you’re going to a dentist that your kid likes. Find a dentist that caters to kids and knows how to handle them. This includes fun things in the waiting room, friendly staff, and maybe a treat after they finish their appointment. Little things like this go a long way towards making your kid more comfortable at the dentist, so research the dentists in your area to find a good one for your kids.
Once your kid is old enough, it’s a good idea to start introducing flossing. Flossing is a habit that too many of us ignore, but which provides a lot of benefit. The best thing you can do is get your child started early with this habit so that they don’t mind it as much later in life.
When showing your child how to floss, let them know that the first few times may be uncomfortable or painful. This will go away over time as you get better at it and as your gums become used to it. Remind your kids to floss every night after they brush their teeth, and before long this will hopefully turn into a habit.
Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks
What you eat and drink plays a large role in your oral health. Sugary foods can deteriorate your teeth, especially if you forget to brush. To limit the amount of damage done to your teeth, it’s a good idea to cut back on, or remove entirely, certain foods and drinks in their diet. Some things you may want to limit are sugary drinks like soda and juice, coffee, and sweets. And while not a food or beverage, smoking is very harmful to your teeth, so warn your child about the dangers of smoking from a young age.
Lead by Example
The best way to instill these habits in your kid is to do them yourself. Show your kids that you are brushing your teeth every morning and every evening. Show them that you are taking the time to floss. Let them know when you are going to the dentist. When you lead by example you are accomplishing two things: first, you are showing your child what healthy habits look like and allowing them to emulate you. Second, you are taking care of your own oral health.
We all want our kids to have good physical health, and oral health is a big part of this. Spend some time with your kids and make sure they are properly taking care of their mouth each day. Show them the correct way to do things, and how you’re doing them yourself. If you can do this, you’ll set your child up with strong oral health habits that will benefit them for their entire lives.