There are many elements of our lives as adults that are often heavily influenced by what we learned or experienced as children, and when it comes to oral health, your dentist will tell you that teaching children how to look after their teeth and gums at an early age, should see them continue this into their adulthood.
Obviously, if you are responsible for a child, you will no doubt have many priorities for them in terms of what they learn, and dental care might not be one at the top of that priority list, but it should be. Just as you teach them many ways to stay safe and healthy, educating a child about their oral health, can only benefit them, throughout their childhood, and beyond.
One thing which must be borne in mind, whilst there are many parts of a child’s upbringing that can seem complicated or requires a lot of investment with respect to time and patience, helping them to learn how to care for their teeth and gums correctly is not one of them. There are also steps you can take to make it part of their routine. With that in mind, here a three simple tips to help you teach your child the benefits of proper oral hygiene, and how they can achieve it.
Start Teaching Them As Early As Possible
Each child develops at a different rate, so this is one which each individual parent will have to judge. However, as with many things you might teach children, the sooner you get started, the better. As soon as their baby teeth are starting to appear, gently cleaning them with a soft toothbrush will get that child used to having a toothbrush in their mouth. Ideally, do this twice a day, so they soon realise there is a routine to this.
You also want to start taking them to the dentist for regular check-ups as soon as it is viable. This will help them used to visiting the dentist, to get to know them, and the environment in the dentist’s office such as the noise, the sights, and the smells.
Make It Fun
Children are far more liable to want to do something if it is fun, so try to make their dental care routine as much fun as you can for them. There are many ways to achieve this, but some ideas are:
Let Them Choose Their Own Toothbrush
Brush Your Own Teeth At The Same Time
Play Games That Are Teeth Related
Get Them To Draw Healthy Teeth Pictures
Read Them Stories Related To Healthy Teeth And Gums
Make Visits To The Dentist A Fun Day Out (e.g. Have Fun Activities On Either Side Of The Appointment)
Help Them Make Their Own Toothpaste (Check Online For Recommended Toothpaste Recipes)
Have A Reward System For Good Oral Care
Watch Out For Those Sugary Treats
Part of every child’s life is looking forward to, and enjoying, a sweet treat, be that chocolate, a bowl of ice cream, or a glass of fizzy drink. We are not saying you deny your child any of that, but allow them it sparingly, get them into the habit of brushing and flossing after these sweet treats, and educate them on eating healthily.
Bear in mind sugary food and drink is not just an issue in relation to your child’s oral health as too much of them can lead to other health issues such as being overweight or having a lack of other essential nutrients.