Providing quality health care to kids is a priority for all parents. An integral piece of that responsibility involves teaching our children how to care for their bodies. Part of that task includes instilling the importance of good oral care at a young age. However, educating young kids on how to effectively clean their teeth can often be frustrating.
While teaching children how to brush their teeth, floss regularly, and understand the value of proper dental care habits can be difficult, the pay-off is worth the effort. As children grow, the health of their mouth can affect their confidence and feelings of self-worth. In a recent study, scientists determined that poor-looking teeth in the adolescent years can negatively impact a teen’s self-esteem levels.
Do you know how to make good dental hygiene part of your family’s health care plan? Keep reading for helpful tips for engaging your kids and making them eager to take their dental hygiene seriously!
Start Teaching Oral Care Early
Teaching kids about good oral hygiene should start as early as possible. Parents are encouraged by dental professionals to get children in the habit of a daily oral care routine at an early age. How soon is early? Oral care steps can begin before children even have teeth! There are steps parents can take to ensure their children’s oral health is exceptional even at the infant stage.
How should you care for an infant’s mouth? Wondering when to start brushing baby teeth? Here are some tips recommended by the American Dental Association:
- Clean your infant’s mouth. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe out the inside of your infant’s mouth. This will help get them used to cleaning their mouth regularly.
- Brush their first tooth. All teeth are susceptible to tooth decay, even baby teeth! When that first baby tooth comes in, it’s time to teach tooth decay prevention with regular brushing.
Make Kids Dental Care a Positive Experience
Good dental care habits can be more easily adopted if the experience is a positive one. To do this, try to create an environment that encourages young children to get excited about brushing their teeth. The more your kids look forward to their daily brushing and flossing routine, the more likely they’ll become lifelong oral care aficionado!
To make kids dental care a positive experience, try including children in the process as much as possible. Allow them to choose which toothbrush and toothpaste they’d like to use. Let them place a sticker on a toothbrushing chart for every time they brush their teeth. Try brushing your teeth together, as part of your family routine.
Be Consistent When Teaching Kids Good Oral Care
Teaching kids good oral hygiene habits requires a daily commitment. Being consistent is key to helping young children develop proper oral hygiene habits. It can take years for kids to build the right skills needed for an effective oral hygiene routine. Helping them be consistent with their practice will result in a life-long commitment to their dental hygiene.
Some helpful tips to try when creating a consistent oral care routine with kids are:
- Make a schedule. Creating an oral care schedule for kids to follow will help kids know when to brush and floss their teeth.
- Use a timer. A timer set for the recommended brushing time of two minutes will help kids remember how long to brush their teeth.
- Lead by example. Show kids the importance of good oral practices by following them yourself. If time and convenience are keeping you from good oral care, consider a toothbrush subscription to make the process easier. Children are more likely to adopt good oral hygiene when parents lead with a good example.
Be Realistic With Your Expectations
When teaching the basics of good oral care to kids, having patience and a good understanding of realistic expectations are essential. Remember, young children don’t have the motor skills required to effectively brush their teeth and gums. It will take several years before they can perform a complete oral care routine unassisted.
If your child lacks adequate brushing skills to care for their teeth and gums properly, consider a toothbrush that’s more forgiving than a manual toothbrush. An electric sonic toothbrush can improve your child’s brushing efforts and help them require less assistance from parents.
Be Proactive About Your Child’s Oral Health
Prevention is the best way to protect your child’s mouth from unwanted oral health issues. Take proactive measures regarding your child’s oral health by visiting your dental professional before signs of poor oral health are evident.
Dentists and dental hygienists are oral care experts. They can adequately assess the condition of your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums. An early introduction to the dentist’s office can help your child develop positive feelings about the health of their mouth and going to the dentist’s office for check-ups.
Protect Your Child’s Smile For Life
At Toothbrush for Life, we know that teaching children good oral hygiene habits is essential. We also know it’s a process that takes time, requiring practice and, of course, patience. To help your child protect their oral health for life, stay up-to-date on the latest oral health developments by subscribing to our helpful newsletter.