When they’re small, there’s so much for children to learn and so much we as parents need to teach them. Our little ones look to use to learn everything about themselves and the world in which they live. Health is one of the biggest lessons and most important lifelong gifts we give our children, and oral health is a huge part of that.
Routine brushing and flossing are the foundation of oral health, and instilling those habits from an early age sets children on the path to success regarding their dental well being. There are a variety of tricks you can employ to help them learn, but the biggest is this: never make brushing or flossing into punishment or chore. It may not be the most fun in the world, but we should never encourage our children to think of keeping their teeth and gums clean as a bad thing. We know kids can ride your last nerve, but keeping the atmosphere around oral health light and pleasant whenever possible is the best approach.
Now on to some tricks, tips, and fun ideas:
- Keep to a routine. Kids learn better with just a bit of structure so a routine about how, when, and where we brush and floss can help them build the habits and enjoy the experience. It can be as simple as “in the morning before school, after dinner, and then again before bed we brush and floss in the bathroom.”
- Let them pick their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. This helps them build a sense of ownership in the project, gives them something fun to do when you go to the store, and can make the whole experience more fun to do. You may want to give them structure choices based on recommendations from your pediatric dentist, but it’s still a good way to get them involved. Speaking of which . . .
- Plage Dentistry can really help teach them the importance of oral health in all its forms. We know how to communicate with kids about the subject matter, how to incentivize kids to brush and floss, and can help you teach your kids the best habits. Plus regular visits for an exam and cleaning go a long way towards preventing oral health issues in the long run, which is always a good thing.
- Use a tooth brushing chart. If your little one has a hard time keeping track, a simple chart you can mark off every time they brush can go a long way. It can be as simple as a calendar with some inexpensive stickers–you don’t need anything fancy to make it fun!
Teaching our kids about oral health can be a lot of work, but building good habits early can make things a lot easier going into the teenage years and beyond. By giving them a good foundation now, you’ll be helping them for a lifetime.