Getting your kids to take good care of their teeth isn’t always easy. After all, many children don’t like to brush their teeth or eat healthy foods. And visiting the dentist can be scary! Still, this doesn’t mean that you’re totally on your own in trying to manage your kids’ oral health. By developing the right habits now, visiting an expert orthodontist for you or your children won’t have to be a scary event.
Here are five ways you can help your children improve their dental hygiene so that future trips to the dentist are pleasant and cavity-free!
1. Lead By Example
Believe it or not, your kids look to you for an example of how to do small, everyday things — even brushing your teeth. This is especially true in their early years. Are you brushing and flossing your teeth every day? When you show your kids that you take your dental health seriously, they’re more likely to do the same. Even more importantly, showing them how brushing and flossing is easy and fun can alleviate any anxiety or reluctance they might have.
2. Provide Healthy Snacks
Sugary snacks are a serious problem for young teeth. Candy and soda aren’t going to do your kids any favors. Instead of stocking up on gummy bears and fruit snacks, choose healthier options like cheese or apples. Making this food readily available for snack time (such as by storing it in a specially marked container in the refrigerator) will make it that much easier for your kids to eat quality food.
3. Start Visiting the Dentist Early
The longer you wait to take your child to the dentist for the first time, the scarier and stranger it will seem. Children will be much less nervous about visiting the dentist when they view it as a normal part of their dental routine. Because of this, it is actually recommended that you start taking your child in for dental visits before their first birthday. Reading books about going to the dentist or including a fun activity as part of the day out (like a trip to the park) can also help your child feel less nervous about these visits.
4. Help Your Kids Brush
Young children often struggle to effectively clean their teeth — and this is where parents can make a big difference. In reality, you should start brushing your child’s teeth before their teeth come in with the help of infant gum wipes. Supervise your children during brushing so they can learn the right techniques, as well as when to spit out their toothpaste (something toddlers often struggle with). Using a fluoride toothpaste in these early years will also make a big difference.
5. Make It Fun
Kids aren’t always very excited about taking care of their teeth, but turning brushing and flossing into a game can easily give them the motivational boost that they need. Playing a special song or allowing your kids to buy a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character can turn this nightly chore into a fun event. Many dentists’ offices also provide charts that help kids keep track of when they brush and floss each day. Offering a fun reward for consistent brushing can be a big motivator for kids. You don’t have to plan big, elaborate prizes, either — even something as simple as a trip to the park or playing a favorite game can be enough to make a difference.
Happy Smiles, Happy Kids
By following the above tips, taking care of your kids’ teeth won’t have to be a major burden. By making dental care a priority for the entire family, you’ll be able to encourage healthy habits that will last a lifetime and avoid cavities and other expensive problems!