Instilling good dental hygiene habits in children is incredibly important and the best way to avoid nasty toothaches or tooth decay. The sooner your child learns to properly brush and floss his or her own teeth, the better their chances are at avoiding nasty toothaches, gingivitis and tooth decay. In today’s article, we look at 6 essential dental hygiene habits to teach your kids, so read on to find out more!
1. Promote Healthy Eating Habits
Good dental hygiene begins with what your child eats on a daily basis. Treats such as ice cream, candy and cakes contain high amounts of sugar that can lead to tooth decay and rot. Considering over 30% of Australia’s children aged 5-6 are already suffering from some form of tooth decay, instilling healthy eating habits is paramount. Providing children with snacks that are low in processed sugar is without a doubt the best way to reduce a child’s risk of tooth decay, cavities and other various long-term oral health issues. What’s more, it ensures the money you invested to cover the braces or clear aligners cost is well spent.
2. Help Your Child Floss
Flossing is difficult, even for adults, which is why helping your child floss is the best way to ensure that your child isn’t skimping on their oral hygiene routine. Flossing is an important part of preventing plaque build-up and dislodging food that may be stuck between teeth. Flossing can be tough and even sometimes painful for kids, which is why it is important that you start by demonstrating on your own teeth. You can then assist them in maneuvering the floss into position in their own mouth, slowly working up to them being able to do so on their own. If your child struggles with regular dental floss, we highly recommend using flossing picks that may be easier for them to handle.
3. Create A Brushing Schedule
Kids often abhor brushing their teeth, but if you create a brushing routine and make it mandatory that your child sticks to it, you’ll find that brushing eventually becomes second nature. Always ensure that your child brushes his or her teeth at the same time every morning and evening, no matter how busy the day might get. As always, leading by example is the best solution, so be sure to stick to a brushing routine yourself!
4. Routine Dental Check-Ups
Most children will require a routine oral health checkup at the dentist once they hit the age of 2. Considering dental checks are often viewed as scary by most children, it is important that parents set a good example early on. By being honest with your child and informing them on how important dental checkups are, you just may be able to convince them to sit in a chair for long enough to get their routine checkup done. The earlier your child visits a dentist, the better. You can even consider organising a “pretend checkup” at home that will be able to prepare your child for what is to be expected during their appointment.
5. Discourage Tobacco Use In Early Life
We all know how tobacco and cigarettes can wreak havoc on dental health, and if you think this may not be applicable to children, think again! Children eventually grow up to lead their own independent lives, and although no one likes to think of their children smoking, discouraging tobacco use in early life is crucial. The use of tobacco can lead to issues down the line such as periodontal diseases, tooth staining, bad breath and poor healing of gums, which is why being open and honest with your children about the negative health effects of smoking is essential.
6. Skip The Juice and Soda
Most parents are vigilant about keeping sugar soda away from children, but did you know that those seemingly innocent juice boxes can actually be worse for your child’s teeth than fizzy drinks? Most fruit juices are loaded with sugar that can lead to rapid tooth decay, which is why we recommend parents swap the juice for flavoured water. Most fruit are stripped of their nutrients in the juicing process, so stick to whole fruit such as apples if you want your child to reap the benefits of the nutrients and vitamins contained in fruit.
From encouraging proper brushing to helping your children make healthier dietary choices, instilling good oral hygiene habits early on in the game.