Parents know it’s important to instill good dental habits in their children early in life. When it comes to dental hygiene, prevention is everything, and good lifelong habits will help them avoid a range of health issues from periodontal disease to systemic issues like diabetes.
The problem isn’t typically why – it’s how. How do you get your adorable, active kids to take care of their teeth? Here are a few ideas.
1. Set a good example. That sounds easy, but brushing with your kids, and demonstrating a consistent example of good dental hygiene habits, will have a lasting effect on your child. Go through the steps: brush, floss, mouthwash, and let them learn it is a part of everyday life.
2. Sing along. Toddlers love songs and rhymes, and there is a lot of research, in fact, that tells us their learning is enhanced when it is accompanied by music. Find one of their favourite songs and brush to it every day. A rhythmic tune is ideal for matching the movements. It will encourage them to brush for a good length of time rather than rushing through it, and make the experience fun and positive.
3. Let them brush in character. Do they have a favourite character from cartoons, books, or movies? There are toothbrushes that depict various characters from different sources. Giving your child a toothbrush with their favourite cartoon character can help motivate them to brush, and perhaps even to brush longer than they otherwise would. Along the same lines, you might consider investing in gear like a handheld flosser for small hands, or an electric toothbrush that makes brushing ‘cool’.
4. Don’t hover. Yes, you do want to stroll by the bathroom once in a while to make sure they are actually brushing as you assume they are, but don’t be a helicopter parent when it comes to oral hygiene. At a certain point, you have to trust that those good habits are just that – habits – and that they are doing it on their own. Hovering will only reinforce the idea that it is a chore they are supposed to do for your benefit.
5. Don’t forget nutrition. Good oral health is as much about what we eat as how we look after our teeth and gums. Rather than lay out a series of rules, a better idea is to keep a running dialog about nutrition going with your children. Bring the idea of oral health into the picture when you talk about nutrition and healthy eating.
Starting children out in life with good oral hygiene habits will set them up for a healthy overall lifestyle. Helping to make it a fun and positive experience that you reinforce on a consistent basis is the key.
Looking for advice on any area of your dental health to focus on? You’ll find the answer at Dr. Robert Axelrad’s Dental Office in Brampton, ON.
If you’re looking for a well-regarded and highly skilled dentist in the Brampton area, make an appointment with Dr. Robert Axelrad by calling (905)-791-3867. Visit our website to learn more about our dental services.
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