10 Ways to Encourage Good Oral Hygiene in Kids

Posted on by admin | in babysitting

Helping your children acquire good oral hygiene habits can be a challenge, but it’s one with very noticeable long-term benefits. Preventing tooth decay and gum disease isn’t only important from a cosmetic and aesthetic standpoint; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also state that there is a direct correlation between existing oral health problems and heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Ensuring that your children form the good oral hygiene habits necessary to keep their smile healthy and beautiful for the rest of their lives isn’t always easy, but these ten tips can help to simplify the process a bit.

  1. Start Early – The younger your child is when the routine of oral care is established, the sooner it will become an unquestioned part of each day. Helping kids form good habits at a very young age is typically much easier than helping older children to reverse the lackluster habits they’re accustomed to, so make sure that you start working with your child and encouraging an oral care regimen early.
  2. Model Good Habits – Children learn many behaviors simply by observing the adults around them and modeling the behavior they see. Setting a good example by exercising good oral care habits yourself, and letting kids see you actively brushing your teeth, make it easier for them to mimic those good habits.
  3. Musical Toothbrushes – Toothbrushes that play music pack a double-duty punch when it comes to oral hygiene. Not only does the music make toothbrushing fun, it also provides kids with a built-in timer that keeps them brushing for the recommended two minutes.
  4. Electric Toothbrushes – An electric toothbrush is a fun way of encouraging kids to brush their teeth, and can provide the novelty kids sometimes need in order to feel interested in mundane tasks. Allowing your child to choose his own toothbrush can also make him feel that he has control over the process, making him less likely to resist brushing his teeth.
  5. Plaque-Disclosing Mouthwash – There are a variety of plaque-disclosing products on the market, including mouthwashes and tablets. These products cling to any plaque present on your child’s teeth, helping him to understand that there can be invisible “dirt” on his teeth and that they must be cleaned very carefully to remove all those traces.
  6. Regular Dentist Visits – Kids may not be too enthusiastic about their dentist’s appointments, but the dentist that cares for your children’s teeth is your greatest ally when it comes to instilling good habits and helping kids understand why they’re so important.
  7. Specially Formulated Kids’ Toothpaste – Toothpastes formulated for adults typically have very strong mint or cinnamon flavors, which can be overwhelming to kids’ sensitive palates. Opting for a Xylitol-based offering formulated specifically with kids in mind may very well have better results than expecting your children to use the same toothpaste as the adults in the house.
  8. Establish a Routine – Kids thrive under an established routine, and aren’t as likely to resist tasks that they complete every day. Making sure that oral care becomes part of that routine can help kids learn to accept it, rather than resisting or avoiding the issue.
  9. Talk About Cavities and Tooth Decay – Explaining to your child that brushing his teeth is an important part of each day because it prevents germs and decay from affecting his smile can impress upon him just how important hygienic oral habits are. Understanding that his teeth can be permanently discolored or damaged will often help kids get over their reluctance to brush their teeth.
  10. Make the Process Fun – Sing a silly song, do a funny dance or make up an entertaining routine that keeps oral hygiene fun for very young children. Toddlers aren’t known for having the longest attention span, so it’s important to make sure that they’re engaged in the process of brushing their teeth to stave off temper tantrums resulting from sheer restlessness or boredom.

The pain of cavities, tooth decay and gum disease is something that no parent ever wants their child to experience. Preventing these scenarios is dependent upon the establishment and adherence to a strong oral care routine, which should begin when your child’s teeth begin to appear. Many parents make the mistake of eschewing dental care during early childhood, believing that baby teeth are expendable. While permanent teeth will take their place eventually, good habits can be much more difficult to establish when your child is older.

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