You know how important it is to brush and floss your teeth regularly, but it can be hard for children to understand the ins and outs of proper oral hygiene. Fortunately, there are tons of dental care tips to help you encourage good oral hygiene habits so you can keep your child’s mouth happy and healthy.
If you are looking for helpful dental care tips about how to ensure your child forms a lifelong habit of healthy oral care, keep reading below.
Model How to Brush and Floss Properly
When it comes to practical dental care tips, one of the most obvious is to provide your children with a good model of how to practice good oral health care. Children learn what they see and often want to emulate adults, so if you take care of your teeth as you should and allow your child to see you doing so, you are already helping them to take care of their teeth as they should.
While great oral health care starts at home, some of the best preschools will reinforce healthy habits from hand washing to brushing and flossing. Try to choose a preschool or daycare that provides support to your at-home teachings, because when children receive information frequently and consistently, it is easier for them to retain the lessons they are being taught.
More than 39 million Americans used teeth whitening products in 2017, which indicates how important an attractive smile is. Proper oral hygiene not only keeps your mouth healthy, but it helps prevent staining and keeps teeth whiter. When you show your child how to properly brush and floss, and supervise their daily brushing and flossing, you set them up for a lifetime of beautiful smiles and healthy teeth and gums.
Instill Habits as Early as Possible
Many experts agree that one of the best ways to ensure lifelong healthy habits is to instill them into children as young as possible, and oral health is no exception. Whether you want your children to properly brush their teeth or help with chores by wiping down the natural granite slabs in your bathroom, getting them started young is key.
It may come as a surprise, but one of the dental care tips dentists suggest is to assist your child with brushing and flossing until about the age of six or seven. At this age, children are considered coordinated and responsible enough to thoroughly clean their teeth.
You do not have to wait for your child to be old enough to brush on their own before you start fostering good brushing and flossing habits. As mentioned above, modeling good oral health habits for your young child is a great way to help encourage these habits throughout their lifetime, so your child does not need to be able to brush on his own before you start making good oral hygiene a priority in their lives.
Stick to a Routine
Children are creatures of habit and consistency is key in helping them maintain proper oral health habits. One of the most important dental care tips is to keep a consistent brushing and flossing routine. Rather than just telling your child they need to brush in the morning and evening, explain to them why doing so is important.
Taking good care of teeth is important if you want to prevent a root canal, cavity filling, or tooth extraction, and explaining this to your child can be a helpful tool in encouraging them to take care of their teeth. Knowing why an oral hygiene routine is important can be a way to motivate your child.
Once your child understands why they need to brush and floss regularly, find a routine that works for your schedule and stick to it. Conventional dental care tips suggest brushing in the morning and right before bed, but should you have your child brush before or after breakfast? If protecting the enamel of teeth is your primary goal, experts on dental care tips recommend brushing your teeth as soon as you wake up rather than after breakfast. Breakfast foods, like orange juice, coffee, pastries, and cereal tend to be sugary or acidic, and brushing your teeth immediately afterward can simply move the sugar and acid around so that it remains on your teeth.
Whatever routine works for you and your family, make sure it is a daily habit and that you remain consistent with it. Eventually, brushing and flossing properly will become second nature to your child, helping them maintain proper oral health.
Utilize Incentives and Track Progress
One of the best dental care tips to prevent adult diseases is to get kids to care about their oral health early. So how can you get them to care? Just like adults, kids can be reward-driven so making use of incentives and keeping track of their oral health progress can be a great way to get kids to keep up a good brushing and flossing routine.
If you are looking for ways to track progress, you can do it on a monthly calendar or create your own brushing chart and fill it out weekly or monthly. For kids that do best with instant gratification, provide them with a fun sticker to apply to the chart in both the morning and evening. When they complete a full week of twice-daily brushing or flossing, give them a reward like a little extra TV or playtime. After a full month of brushing and flossing twice each day, consider doing something fun like a family picnic or movie night. Building towards a reward while still receiving daily incentives is a great way to help motivate your child to take proper care of their teeth.
Not only does providing rewards keep children motivated, but children often get excited about seeing how far they have come. Just as your child is excited to bring home a good grade or art project they worked hard on, so will they be excited to have a positive report from a dentist to share with you. Helping your child visualize their habits and success provides positive reinforcement and success that they can measure, giving them an added boost of pride and self-esteem.
Avoid Sugar-Filled Foods and Drinks
Same day dental care is often more expensive, and while it isn’t always possible to avoid emergency services, there are ways to minimize your chances of needing them. One of the most common and well-known dental care tips is to avoid foods and drinks that are overly sugary.
Why is sugar considered so bad for teeth? Sugar has a direct connection to tooth decay. When you eat or drink sugary foods on a regular basis, saliva and bacteria combine with the sugar to form plaque on teeth. Over time, plaque produces acids that dissolve the enamel on your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay and other damage.
As with anything else, moderation is key. You do not have to ban sugar from your household to keep your child’s teeth healthy, but you want to make sure you are monitoring how much and how often they are ingesting sugar. Not only is avoiding sugar one of the top dental care tips, but it is also an important tip for maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle for your family.
When you do splurge with sugary foods, like a birthday cake or an ice cream sundae night at home, you might think that your child should immediately brush their teeth after the treat. Experts suggest waiting about 30 to 60 minutes before brushing teeth because otherwise, your child might just spread sugar around on their teeth as opposed to actually removing it from their mouth.
Visit a Dentist Twice a Year
There are some things you do every year, like take your pets to the local vet clinic for immunizations or visit the family doctor for physicals, but visiting the dentist is something you need to do twice every year. If you have trouble remembering to call the dentist every six months, schedule your twice-yearly exams at one time for exactly six months apart.
Why is visiting the dentist every six months one of the most important dental care tips? There are several reasons. Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque forms on teeth and will build up over time. A deep cleaning from the dentist removes plaque, keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Additionally, tooth decay can be nearly impossible to spot on your own, but even small areas of concern are readily identifiable to your dentist. Fixing cavities while they are small is not only easier, but it is a way to prevent more serious (and costly) dental procedures like root canals.
Lastly, signs of gum disease are not always very easy to recognize if you do not know what you are looking for. Your dentist will be able to properly assess your gum health, and your child’s gum health, which can prevent problems and delay any potential gum disease.
Let Your Kids Pick Out Their Dental Products
Kids like to feel as though they are independent and in control. Even if your child is not old enough to brush on their own, you can help them experience some control in the process by allowing them to pick out their own dental products. There is a huge selection of dental products targeted at children, so you will not have any trouble finding a toothbrush or toothpaste your child will love. They even have Invisalign for kids, making it easier for them to feel completely in control of their oral care.
When they are choosing their own dental products, you do want to double-check ingredients and make sure your child is selecting products that are appropriate for their needs. As previously mentioned, kids like to feel older. They want to be able to emulate their favorite fictional characters and allowing them to choose toothbrushes or toothpaste that feature their favorites can make them more excited about brushing. It can also provide you with the chance to say that even superheroes or princesses need to brush their teeth, which can help your child remember that good oral hygiene is important to everyone.
Make Brushing Fun
Fun is something that kids are drawn to, so if your child is particularly difficult when it comes to brushing and flossing, try to make it some sort of game. One of the most common dental care tips is to brush for about two minutes, once kids reach a certain age, and that can be a difficult time period for them to gauge on their own. Even adults struggle with knowing when two minutes have elapsed during brushing. Some toothbrushes come with timers attached, making it much easier to tell the time, but if you do not have one for your child, try singing. It might sound silly, but singing the alphabet or the happy birthday song twice is around two minutes, and it can be a fun way to help your child know when their brushing time is up.
Making the bathroom a fun place to be can also help encourage your child to spend the appropriate amount of time brushing. Choose art that inspires your child, maybe even hang some of their own masterpieces, in the bathroom to make the space feel more inviting and exciting for them.
Keep the Bathroom Organized
With all of the hard work you put into your bathroom, from choosing the right countertops to the automatic fire sprinkler design, keeping it clean should be something you want to do, and while keeping an organized bathroom may not seem like the most obvious of dental care tips, it is one that should not be overlooked. A well-designed and easily accessible bathroom is one way to help your child maintain good oral health habits, after all, kids will have a hard time brushing and flossing frequently if they are unable to find their toothbrush or toothpaste in cluttered wooden cupboards.
There are so many dental care tips to help you provide your child with the information and skills they need to develop lifelong oral health habits that you do not need to do every single one. You know your child better than anyone, so choose the dental care tips that feel most relevant to your situation and give your child the gift of a lifetime of healthy teeth.