It is never too early to teach your child the importance of good oral hygiene and how to maintain a proper dental care routine. Teaching kids dental routine will help them understand the importance of having one. It make it natural for them to always maintain good dental habits right throughout their lives for optimum oral health. If you want to discover fun and effective ways to help you child start their dental routine the below tips should help.
1. Establish a consistent routine
The first step to establishing a regular dental care routine is to establish the proper times so that it becomes a part of their daily routines. First thing in the morning or right after breakfast and after dinner are the best times for brushing and flossing the teeth. While brushing should be done twice a day minimum, for flossing once a day is enough. It is also good if they learn to rinse their mouths thoroughly after lunch to clean the teeth and gums, as brushing is not always possible at lunchtime.
2. Teach children how to use dental products properly
It is never too early to teach your children to brush and how to use dental products properly. You can teach them the correct amount of toothpaste to use to avoid both waste and discomfort. A pea sized amount is just right for children three years and up and explaining it to them as such should help them to remember. A rice sized drop is recommended for children younger than three. Fluoride toothpaste has been approved as safe for children of all ages. Remember to teach them the importance of cleaning their tongues as well.
Show them how to hold the brush, at a general 45 degree angle and then how to use gentle circular motions to clean their teeth and gums. Through practice they will learn the best duration, ideally two minutes, for effective teeth cleaning.
3. Make brushing fun
There may come a time where your child will start to refuse to brush his/her teeth as all children go through different stages. The best way to over come this is to make teeth cleaning fun. There are a few ways you can do this so that the child no longer sees it as a chore. You could play a favourite song or make up rhymes together so that the child’s mind is occupied. Use a timer, set for two minutes, and make it a game to brush for the entire duration the timer is on. Children usually love a new challenge, and this will make teeth cleaning fun and interesting for them.
You can also try rewarding them with simple encouragements such as a progress chart with a sticker they can place each time they brush their teeth. The visual aspect will make things easier for them to understand while the act of placing the sticker keeps them invested.
4. Educate them on benefits of good oral health
Using books and favourite tv characters or fun child appropriate YouTube videos will help educate children on the benefits of good dental health. There are many wonderful resources that teach children the importance of dental hygiene and that encourage them to start brushing their teeth and to make it a daily habit. Likewise it also shows children the dangers of not looking after their teeth and adverse effects it can have on their oral health.
5. Be a role model
Children learn best through example. Where a child might stop listening after a while they do love to mimic the behaviour of those older. You can brush and floss your teeth alongside them and help them learn the proper techniques. When they see you brushing and flossing your teeth daily they will understand that everyone follows a proper dental routine. This can be a time of fun for both of you where you choose songs to listen to or where you mimic each other while brushing.
6. Tailor your teaching based on your child’s age
While it is never too early to start looking after your child’s teeth you need to understand the best ways to help them understand, based on the child’s age. Baby teeth should be look after from the moment they first appear and as your child reaches an age where they can understand you can slowly allow them a few minutes of holding the brush on their own. This way they will feel involved while you still ensure that your child’s teeth are cleaned well.
As they get older though things get more complicated as they start to form opinions of their own. Children aged two and above will need more motivation such as videos, or colouring books etc to motivate them towards daily brushing and its importance.
7. Ensure they eat a healthy diet
Alongside teaching your children good oral hygiene habits it is of course important that you ensure they eat healthy. They may not understand the importance but will learn to understand how some foods are beneficial for their teeth while others such as sugary foods are not and that it can cause tooth decay. Since avoiding sweets completely is not possible, especially for kids, teach your child to either brush his/her teeth straight after or else to rinse their mouths out with water.
Encourage your child to stay hydrated as it has an overall positive impact on their oral health as a it keeps the mouth free and reduces bacteria and plaque build-up.
8. Make dental appointments fun
Regular dental appointments are a must for children and adults alike. However, some children may have anxiety or concerns about visiting the dentist and is up to you as the adult to find out what they are and address them clearly and gently. By making the process of visiting the dentist fun you can help relieve some of the concerns. Keep your child informed about what will happen during the visit and how the dentist will help keep the all-important tooth enamel healthy and strong by checking for any problems.
Initially, if you schedule your own check-up during the same visit your child might feel better about the visit.
Teaching your child the habit of having a daily dental care routine is a gift you can give your kid that will keep on giving. As they progress into adulthood they will be grateful for their healthy teeth and good oral health. These tips should be helpful in starting and maintaining dental care routines so that both you and your child will enjoy the experience. Remember to adjust the points to suit your child’s needs so that it will be easier to establish the daily habit.