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Parenting is no easy job. Teaching your child to discern between what’s healthy and what isn’t can be one of the hardest parts. Discernment aside, even instilling these healthy traits or habits in your child can be taxing. Teaching your children detailed and correct oral habits is as essential as any other healthy habit you might teach them.
Oral health can be very easy to overlook, especially when you are pressed for time and constantly tired. With a small effort towards prevention, however, you can buy time and long-term peace of mind. Instilling healthy oral habits in your child means that his or her dental visits can go smoothly and without hassle. Your dentist will also thank
you for getting the basics right.
When it comes to your parenting skills in the oral health department, here’s a list you might refer to when in doubt.
1. Brush twice daily
This hardly needs to be said, and it is quite possibly the most important rule of daily oral hygiene. Children need to be told to brush their teeth often. Make sure that you do tell them, and check that they brush twice a day. Starting early with your child will ensure that they adhere to a proper brushing routine. To make the process more engaging, you could even let your child pick out a toothbrush. Remember to teach them that it is important to change toothbrushes every three months.
2. Floss regularly
Flossing is often considered an unnecessary routine, but it is, in fact, very important. Taking care of the less accessible areas between teeth can only help contribute to better oral hygiene. Although it may seem very difficult at first, continue to patiently demonstrate the right technique to your child. Explain to them that the initial discomfort will soon wear off and that their daily routine must include flossing to keep their teeth and gums healthy. The long-term benefits will far outweigh the short-term nuisance it may appear to be, so keep at it until the flossing routine is perfect.
3. Dietary watch-zone
A central component to developing healthy habits is teaching your children to eat a balanced diet. Fussy eaters are not uncommon, and this may make it hard to introduce healthy eating. As parents, however, it helps to know what strategies may work best to help your children eat healthily.
Lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, milk, and water should be prevalent, while sugary foods and excessive carbohydrates are to be avoided. Following these guidelines can be the difference between having a healthy mouth and a cavity-ridden one.
4. What not to chew
When it comes to children, especially the younger ones, chewing comes with the territory. Starting at infancy, they chew on pacifiers, teething rings, and even their own fingers. While this may seem perfectly normal, the effects of this habit may prove problematic orally.
Try weaning your child off of the chewing-for-pleasure habit from age four and upwards. Objects such as pens or pencils, hard candies, and jewelry are strictly on the no-chew list. Teach your child to avoid this habit-forming behavior, which may otherwise influence his or her oral health. Chewing hard objects can lead to increased spaces between teeth and broken teeth when not careful.
5. Trust fluorides
Fluoride, as is commonly known, is good for the teeth, and must be a part of the oral hygiene basics. When choosing a toothpaste for your child, make sure you check to see that it is fluoridated and make yourself aware of the percentage content. Remember that mouthwash that contains fluoride can also help. Be sure to include a mouthwash rinse at least once or twice a week.
Try to explain to your child as simple as you can that fluoride is important for keeping his or her teeth strong and white. Remember, too, not to overdo it, as excessive dosages of fluoride can have a reverse effect and cause other side-effects, such as fluorosis.
6. Dental visits
Biannual dental visits are a must for every child. Stick to dental appointments as closely as you can, especially when it comes to children. Before visiting the dentist, tell your children that you are going to visit a dentist who will take
care of their teeth and help them to keep their teeth strong and healthy. Teach your children how important it is to visit the dentist and they will continue to consider dental appointments a priority even as they grow older, which will ultimately contribute to better oral health.
While it may not be as easy as it sounds to get your children to practice a proper and regular oral hygiene routine, a routine is, in fact, necessary. The teaching process can involve several different methods; oftentimes, the more inventive, the better the chances that your child will follow the rules. YouTube videos demonstrating the proper way to take care of their teeth; small rewards such as sticker charts for taking care of their teeth, and practice sessions could all work better than merely telling them to brush and expecting them to obey. In addition, your child’s dentist may have some insightful ideas on how to better incorporate oral hygiene into their lives. Be sure to ask the
endodontist for advice and also to make regular visits.
Using these pointers will help get your children started on their healthy oral hygiene journeys. The more they learn, the more likely they are to maintain good dental habits throughout their lives and thus avoid any major concerns.