Good oral hygiene, when appropriately taught and early in a child’s life, can prevent dental problems and maintain good oral health from childhood to adulthood. If you want your child to grow up with healthy teeth and gums, here’s how you can teach them good oral hygiene as early as now:
- Make it a fun teaching moment
Pediatric dentists recommend parents to teach their children proper oral hygiene without making it seem like a chore. While teaching your child how to brush and floss their teeth on their own, make it a happy bonding moment between you two. Be patient and refrain from helicoptering. It can take a few tries, but with enough practice, your child will be able to brush and floss their teeth independently in time.
- Brush together
Children always copy their parents, so when they see you brushing your teeth, they will be more inclined to do the same. As much as possible, do your oral hygiene routine together. Doing this also allows you to see how your child brushes their teeth, and you can correct their mistakes as they go along.
- Read educational books
It might not be enough to teach your child how to take care of their teeth properly. You also need to let them know why they are doing it in the first place. Use educational books or other sources to teach your child about the importance of good oral health. Help them learn about the role of the teeth and gums, why they need to take care of them, and what can happen if they don’t.
- Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement helps children create good behaviors, and this can come in handy when teaching them how to take care of their teeth. Reward your child for good oral hygiene. However, don’t use sugary treats. Instead, you can offer them a few extra minutes of playtime or a healthy snack.
- Let them choose hygiene tools
Tooth brushing will be more fun for your kids if they get to choose their toothbrush and toothpaste. Allow them to pick their toothbrush and flavor of toothpaste the next time you go to the store.
- Make dentist appointments fun
For many children, going to the dentist is often an intimidating experience. For some, it can even be a cause of high stress and anxiety.
Whether their dental anxiety is mild or severe, there are many ways you can help your child cope–or even get over it. The best way to make dentist appointments fun and not a scary experience is to go to a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dental clinics specialize in treating children and make the experience as comfortable as possible. Moreover, these clinics are decorated to be as child-friendly as possible, often looking like playgrounds instead of dental clinics.
Developing good oral hygiene habits is crucial in childhood. When your children grow up with a good sense of oral hygiene, they are better equipped to avoid dental problems as they grow up, which helps maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout adolescence and even adulthood.