If you start teaching your kids good oral hygiene habits at a young age, you can put them on a path toward life-long oral health. Some actions become so engrained that it just doesn’t feel right not to complete them. Have you ever noticed that it is difficult to fall asleep if you go to bed before brushing your teeth? If so, it means that you have so firmly established the habit of brushing your teeth before bed that it feels wrong not to follow through. When it comes to teaching your kids about oral hygiene, the goal is to get the good habits so ingrained that they continue them throughout life.
Brushing is the quickest and simplest oral hygiene habit. You do have to be intentional in the way you brush to get the best results. But brushing correctly is not complicated. School-aged children can learn to brush thoroughly and will eventually be able to be trusted to complete the task without supervision. The two key elements to brushing properly are time and coverage. You need to teach your kids how long to brush and how to cover all of the areas in their mouths. The time element is simple – put on a song they love or use a timer. It will take a little more effort to make sure they reach all the spots while brushing. It can help to create an order for your kids to follow such as: behind bottom teeth, then behind top teeth, front of bottom teeth, then front of top teeth, etc. The pattern you choose doesn’t matter as long as it helps your kids consistently get to all of their teeth while brushing.
Flossing is an important oral hygiene habit to teach your kids. It gets to areas of your mouth that brushing simply cannot reach. Many adults avoid flossing so it is very important to be intentional about creating this habit in your children. It will take some effort to teach flossing. Young kids may lack the dexterity to floss correctly. And, it can be a little scary to floss for kids if it leads to bleeding gums. If flossing always goes along with brushing your kids will expect it to be part of their routine. You may have to assist your kids with flossing a little longer than with brushing. One option is to purchase dental flossers designed for kids. The flossers will be easier for your kids to handle when compared to traditional floss. And, the bright colors will make things more fun. The key to creating the habit of flossing for your kids is to be consistent and patient.
Visiting the Dentist
Visiting the dentist for routine dental care only happens a couple of times a year but it is an essential part of proper oral care. The way to create this habit is to be consistent with routine dental visits. Take your child to the dentist on the appropriate schedule for cleanings and exams. And, let your kids see that you make routine dental visits a priority.
Good oral hygiene habits can start at a young age. Begin teaching your kids these important habits as soon as possible. The sooner you start the sooner brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist will become a normal part of your kids’ oral care routine.