20 Jun 6 Ways to Teach Your Kids Dental Hygiene – And Taking Care of Their Teeth On Their Own
Getting kids to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times a day, can be a challenge. We all know kids have a hard time staying focused but even many adults still don’t have a proper routine when it comes to dental hygiene. However, teaching your children to take care of their teeth will help install a lifetime of healthy habits. As challenging as it is, it’s not impossible to teach your kids dental hygiene so that they can grow up with habits that will save them unnecessary visits to the dental chair. We bring you 6 ways to teach your kids dental hygiene.
Dental hygiene should begin when your child is a baby. It would be best if you teach your child to brush their teeth with just water. Once they get into the routine of dental hygiene, add a small amount of non-fluoride toothpaste. This type is safe for a small child to swallow! When your child learns how to spit out the toothpaste, introduce them to a toothpaste with fluoride. Always use a small amount and show them to spread the toothpaste on the teeth, gums, and tongue.
Let them make the choices.
This especially applies if you have an independent child. Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste. Try offering them two or more choices so they can pick their favorite. But as independent as your little one may be, still, actively supervise their teeth brushing routine to avoid possible injuries. When your child has all their teeth, teach them about flossing. The earlier flossing becomes a routine, the easier it will be for them to have this habit for the rest of their life!
Make a fun routine
Never skip dental hygiene in your morning and bedtime routine. As challenging as it might be, it gets easier with time. Try putting on a short, fun song that they love while your child brushes their teeth. Your child will likely need help brushing their teeth until about age 7 or 8, so these games can change according to their age. A fun thing to try is a game called “lego flossing,” where you place lego blocks as “teeth” and play dough as “the leftover food.” You can use a piece of string as your “dental floss” and remove the parts of play dough, showing your child how flossing works. For a good source of games to teach your child about dental hygiene, check out this website.
Create a reward system
Connect their morning and night routine to a positive experience by giving out stickers of approval for every successful routine. You can try making aboard and for every successful week, give them a small reward such as their favorite meal or more extended playtime. Reward systems encourage the healthy development of a child’s self-esteem, so you’ll be on your way to the parent of the year award by building your child’s healthy habits and self-esteem at the same time.
Encourage a healthy food diet.
The easiest way to keep all those cavities away is to eat food and drink drinks low in sugars. We know most children love candy and chocolate. Junk food is made to create addiction! And we’re not saying to become a parent that obsessively monitors that every single bite your child has is broccoli, but try to keep the junk and sugar limited to special occasions. The sugar found in food and especially drinks turns into acids that eat away at the teeth. This is especially prominent in children because their teeth are hard to brush. If you are one of the few lucky parents who already have kids that love eating healthy, the rest of us envy you! Enjoy it!
Set an example
Finally, children imitate what they see at home. If your dental hygiene could use some improvement, now is the best time to start. Make sure you brush your teeth and floss regularly, not just before the visit to the dentist. Go get that cavity check-up with your child and show them there is nothing to be afraid about so they can associate dentist visits to a positive experience.
If you have dental anxiety check out our post on dental anxiety and how to overcome your fears.
Does your child have cavities?
Your child may be at risk for cavities if they:
- Have a predominantly unhealthy diet
- Were born early
- Were born underweight
- Have brown areas or white spots on their teeth
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