How to Instill Good Dental Hygiene Habits in your Children

Dentist visit

Children often learn their dental hygiene habits from their parents. If a child is brought up in a household that does not place an important or a priority on good dental health, then they are likely to carry these same habits into their adulthood. It is important to start a child with a good pattern of healthy dental care at an early age. These parenting tips will help you instill these oral hygiene habits into your children.

Let them play with dental items early on

A child that has never been exposed to dental care items is unlikely to feel comfortable with them. If they begin to break teeth and then you force them to brush, they might find it difficult to adjust to the new habit. Instead, let them play around with toothbrushes before they even get their first teeth. Teach them what it is for and get them into the habit of the brushing motions. You can also insist on enacting tooth brushing with dolls and other character figurines. Although you might think it is not necessary to emphasize good dental habits until the adult teeth begin to come in around age six, baby teeth act as placeholders for the permanent teeth, and damage to them can cause substantial problems later, including the need for invasive pediatric dental treatments.

Be a good role model

Children tend to mimic everything that their parents do. If you exercise, they are going to want to exercise with you. If you have a favorite food, it is possible that this food will also become their favorite food. The same idea goes with dental hygiene. If your child regularly watches you brush and floss your teeth, they are going to want to do the same. When it comes time for them to clean their own teeth, they will already be familiar with the method. Then, you can focus on proper kid orthodontics, rather than teaching them.

It is also important to be a good role model when it comes to dental checkups. The dentist can be a scary place for a child, especially if they have never been to one before. When you schedule your dental checkups and cleanings, bring your child along. If your dentist is informed of why you are doing this, they will usually be okay with it. When it comes time for their own pediatric dental treatments, they will already be familiar with the dentist office, the dentist, and the treatment processes.

Teach them how foods affect their dental health

In addition to educating your child on proper dental hygiene, it is also important to teach them about the relationship between foods you consume and how it affects the pediatric dental care. Depending on their age, you can teach them about cavities and how to prevent them. When they get to an age where they are involved in sports, it is also important to teach them about proper dental protection.

The AAPD notes that 10 to 39% of dental injuries in children are caused by sports, particularly chipped and broken teeth. Educate them on the types of pediatric dental treatments they might need if they experience dental damage from a lack of protection during sports. Approximately 1 in 5 U.S. children go without dental care, which can be a mistake both in terms of proper oral hygiene for kids and good dental protection.

It seems like children are born with a fear of the dentist. However, this fear tends to arise from a parent?s lack of education or communication with the child around proper dental habits. This education needs to start at a very young age in order to prevent pediatric dental treatments. You will also want to find a dentist for children that they feel comfortable and relaxed with.