The sooner your kids learn the value of good oral hygiene, the better. If they understand the importance of brushing and flossing every day, they’ll be more inclined to continue those healthy habits as they get older. And if they get used to seeing the dentist on a regular basis, they’ll realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of whenever they need a checkup, cleaning, or treatment.
How can you inspire healthy dental habits for your kids? It’s easier than you think! We’ve compiled a few tips below that you can use to get started.
Did you know that your baby’s oral care begins before the first tooth even erupts from the gums? It’s true!
You can start by wiping your baby’s gums gently. Then, move on to using a little toothbrush to gently clean those pearly whites as they erupt. The idea is that you get your child used to having their teeth and gums cleaned every day.
In addition to starting early when it comes to your child’s at-home oral hygiene routine, it’s also a great idea to have your baby see the dentist to become acquainted with what it’s like to have a preventive checkup. How soon can you start? Well, by your baby’s first birthday, or within six months of the appearance of the first little tooth. Simple enough!
Your kids learn a lot by simply observing you. So if you’re taking stellar care of your teeth by brushing and flossing every day, they might be more inclined to do the same because they’ll want to be like you.
Show your kids that you brush twice a day and floss once a day. Let them watch you as you brush for two minutes at a time, and show them how you clean between your teeth with string floss or a water flosser. Then, give them the chance to try doing the same to keep their teeth and gums nice and clean.
Beyond showing, also tell your kids why oral care is an integral component of your daily routine. Teach them that it also needs to be a part of their routine so they can have a beautiful smile for years to come.
Some kids might be more inclined to stick to this routine if they can use high-tech products, like electric toothbrushes that have built-in timers and connect to an app, or water flossers that can help reduce the time it takes to floss.
Also, if your child isn’t a fan of mint flavor, there are kid-friendly toothpastes that feature milder flavors that can help encourage brushing.
And if your kids tend to feel bored while brushing and flossing, you can try strategies like playing music while they brush, or letting them use a kid’s toothbrush that features a favorite cartoon character.
When you’re really struggling, consider offering rewards if your kids maintain their oral hygiene routine for a week or longer. This might help motivate them to make time daily to brush and floss.
Another important lesson to teach your kids: eating nutritious foods can help promote oral health. Once again, showing your kids how it’s done can do a lot more than merely telling them about the need to eat well.
Try to reduce the amount of packaged, processed food and sugary drinks that your kids consume. Also, limit sticky and starchy foods, candy, and carbonated beverages. Instead, serve up meals and snacks that are packed with natural ingredients, like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and encourage your kids to drink pure water.
Kids who learn to eat healthy foods while they’re young are more likely to continue eating that way as they get older. On the other hand, if your kids become too accustomed to eating unhealthy foods, it might be a challenge when you try to undo those eating habits. So, whether you’re preparing your child’s school lunch or you’re making dinner and dessert at home, aim to use ingredients that help support strong teeth and healthy gums.
To make going to the dentist a less stressful experience, consider making it a family event. See if you can arrange it so that your child can have their dental appointment when you have yours. That way, they won’t have to feel as though they’re doing it all alone, and you can show them that it isn’t a big deal at all. Plus, by making appointments for yourself, you can lead by example again.
Want to make trips to the dentist more affordable so that no member of your family ever has to skip an appointment? Check out the family dental insurance plans available from Spirit Dental. They help cover the cost of checkups, three cleanings per year, orthodontics, and more.
Overall, with a few simple steps that you can take every day, you can instill healthy habits in your kids. They’ll realize the importance of keeping their teeth and gums clean, and you’ll rest easy knowing you taught them well.