The habits that children develop often follow them through life. As a parent, you can help ensure your kids maintain good oral hygiene by encouraging them to develop healthful habits that will benefit their teeth and gums.
How to Brush Properly
When left to their own devices, many children will make a foamy mess instead of brushing their teeth properly. Rather than letting them brush however they want, teach them to practice good technique that involves:
- Holding the toothbrush at a slight angle.
- Brushing gently back and forth.
- Brushing all sides of the teeth.
- Breaking the mouth into quadrants and dedicating 30 seconds to each one.
Make brushing a part of your family’s morning and evening routines. In addition to telling your children how to brush, demonstrate proper technique for them to copy. The more you practice together, the better your kids will get at brushing.
How to Floss
According to the American Dental Association, only 40 percent of Americans floss daily. About 20 percent of Americans say that they never floss. If you’re one of those people who never floss, your children have given you a good opportunity to learn.
When teaching your children how to floss, show them how to measure about 18 inches of string so they can clean all their teeth without using the same string. Wind the floss around the middle finger of one hand, and hold the floss gently in your other hand. Once you’ve taught them how to hold the dental floss properly, demonstrate how to glide the floss between the teeth one at a time.
Make flossing a part of your morning and evening routines. You don’t want your kids to think that flossing matters less than brushing. Both activities play crucial roles in good oral hygiene.
Go to the Dentist Twice a Year
Children and adults should visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups. The visits accomplish several things, including removing plaque, giving the dentist a chance to look for developing problems, and eliminating any fear that your children might have.
Reward your children after they see the dentist. You want them to associate the visits with positive feelings.
Avoid Sugary Treats
Reserve candy and other sugary treats for special occasions. Eating candy daily contributes to a host of health problems, including tooth decay.
You can set a good example by removing candy from your house. Also, choose healthy snacks when you’re out of the house. Instead of getting a candy bar at a convenience store, pick an apple or banana.
Teaching kids good oral hygiene takes some effort. In return, your children get to enjoy healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives.