Getting kids to care about their dental health can be tough, but childhood is an important time for instilling good habits in caring for teeth and gums. These four top tips can help parents to support their children to make healthy choices and establish good dental hygiene routines.
1. Getting kids to brush
You should start cleaning your children’s mouths and gums when they are babies, so that they get used to the idea of oral cleaning being part of a daily routine. When teeth appear, clean them for your child with a soft toothbrush.
Once children get older, it is time to teach them how to brush their own teeth. Show them how to brush properly, angling the brush at 45 degrees to the gums and covering all surfaces of the teeth. Children often rush through cleaning their teeth, so use a timer, app, or play a two-minute song to let them know how long they need to brush.
2. Flossing is important too
Children should also be taught how to floss their teeth. You can start by flossing between the teeth of very young kids once those teeth come in. Let your kids see you flossing after meals so that they know that it’s an important part of preserving dental health.
3. Instill a love of healthy foods
Kids can be persuaded to try and enjoy healthy foods if they are introduced as a treat. Encourage your children to try low-sugar snacks such as cheese and crackers, carrots with hummus or salsa dip, or homemade vegetable chips. Try to keep your kids away from carbonated soft drinks as much as possible to protect their teeth from the sugar and acids in these drinks.
4. Find a child-friendly dentist
It is very important that children have positive early experiences with the dentist so they see that getting dental care isn’t so scary. Always opt for a dental office that welcomes children, and do not be afraid to switch to a new dentist if you are unhappy with how your dental care provider interacts with your children. A dentist who is friendly and patient with children can help to prevent kids from developing dental phobias.