The home is where children first learn and develop fundamental habits, including oral health practices. However, instilling proper oral health among young ones can be quite challenging. From short attention spans to the fear of dentists, here’s how you can deal with different hurdles in teaching proper oral hygiene to your children.
Set an example
Your children’s oral health habits may only be as good as what they see in you. Children typically imitate what they see in their parents or the adults that they live with. If you set an example by practicing proper oral hygiene at home, there’s a great chance that your children will follow suit and take on those practices as they grow older.
So set an example when it comes to proper tooth brushing, flossing, and other healthy oral practices such as avoiding too much sweets and going on regular dental check-ups. When children see that you’re serious about taking care of your teeth, it would be easier for them to follow what you say and understand the importance of proper oral health.
Know your child’s dental milestones
You need to be aware of the different phases that a child’s teeth goes through, so that you’ll know the right oral habits appropriate for their age and when dental visits should be. Typically a child’s teeth goes through these phases—eruption of first tooth, mixed dentition or the shedding of baby teeth and eruption of permanent teeth, and the development of wisdom teeth.
A child’s first dental visit should be by the first year or within six months after the eruption of the first tooth. During this consultation, the dentist will lay the groundwork for proper oral health and educate parents on how to take care of their child’s teeth.
Promote proper diet
Diet influences different areas of a person’s well-being, one of which is oral health. Educate your child about the dangers of sugars and acids coming from food and beverages to their teeth and gums. Aside from that, limit their intake of milk, juice, soda, and sweets before bedtime to avoid sugars from staying too long in the mouth and promoting tooth decay.
It’s also essential to fill your child’s diet with food that are essential to oral health such as cheese, leafy greens, apples, carrots, and almonds.
Go on regular dental visits
Developing good dental habits at home are important, but it’s equally imperative for your family to go on regular dental visits. Typically, a child should undergo check-ups every six months, but it still depends on the advice of your pediatric dentist.
It’s normal for kids to feel anxious and refuse to go to the dentist, but there are ways to encourage them and make the consultation as comfortable as possible.
First off, find the right dentist, preferably one that specializes dental care for children. More so, sit down and explain to your child why a visit to the dentist is important. Be honest as possible when talking about the consultation, but avoid any details that might cause unnecessary worry to your child.
Teach oral health through fun activities
Children easily remember and grasp concepts if they think it’s fun and exciting, and you can instill good oral habits to them through activities that they can enjoy. You can use visual aids such as flash cards, colorful posters, fun trivia, and arts and crafts to teach concepts about oral health and hygiene.
When it comes to oral health, it’s best to start your children young. Through the five tips discussed, you can let them learn about oral hygiene and instill proper habits that they can take with them even as they grow older.