Raising a happy and well-adjusted child is one of the most difficult things any adult can do: it’s a never-ending project that changes constantly. Nutrition, an active lifestyle, physical and online safety, and healthy relationships are just a few of the things you must consider, in addition to ensuring they’re getting a great education and watching for any signs of concern.
While you’re worrying about whether your child needs early intervention and ensuring that they’re hitting all their developmental milestones, the significance of oral hygiene may fall by the wayside, but strong teeth are a critical element of overall well-being.
Helping set your children up for success will help them stave off problems in the future, but it can be a challenging task when considered on top of all the other things you must handle on a regular basis. With that in mind, today we’ll explore some of the best ways that you can help your children develop beautiful smiles that will endure throughout their lives.
Even before your child needs to brush, you should let them see you brushing your teeth twice daily. Bring them into the bathroom with you and let them watch as you complete your evening routine, as this will cement tooth brushing as a regular, everyday occurrence that everyone does. Children learn first by seeing and then by doing, so you need them to get familiar with the motions by modeling it for them.
Let them hold the end of the toothbrush and feel it so that it’s not a foreign object once you begin brushing their own teeth. Once you’re done brushing, pop in your oral probiotics and swish them around your mouth so that they recognize that once they are done with the toothbrush, they have one last step. With that done, congratulate them for ‘helping’ you, and it’s time for bed.
You might think that you don’t have to worry about dental hygiene until your baby is fully weaned and eating solids, but this isn’t true: you need to brush baby teeth as well. As soon as the first tooth erupts, you should purchase a small, soft-bristled brush, then use a tiny dot of baby-safe toothpaste and lightly run it in a gentle, circular motion throughout the mouth, including the gums.
You should expect to help your children with brushing their teeth until they are between six and eight years old; as they get to be toddlers, you can let them take a bit more control of the process, but watch them carefully to ensure that it’s done correctly and safely.
You don’t want toothbrushing to be a chore, but something that your children see as enjoyable: a way to spend a bit more time with Mom or Dad in the evenings before bed. As such, let them pick out a special toothbrush all of their own that they will get excited to use. Since you need to replace toothbrushes every three to four months, buy extras of whichever one they choose and keep them stowed away. This way, you can ensure there won’t be a meltdown at the grocery store when they find their favorite character isn’t available anymore.
For children and toddlers, consider singing to them as they brush, as little ones love nursery rhymes and will feel comforted by the song. As they get older, you might get a ‘tooth timer’ and set it for two minutes, making it a competition to see if they can reach that all-important goal of brushing for the recommended amount of time. Above all, praise and encourage them for taking care of this, and they’ll feel that they have accomplished a critical goal every time they use their toothbrush.
Part of the reason that many children are afraid of the dentist is because it’s unfamiliar and overwhelming; as such, you need to normalize it for them by going regularly, even if they are frightened the first few times. Find a pediatric dentist you feel comfortable with and make an appointment at least every six months.
Before you go, read children’s books about going to the dentist so that they understand that it’s a safe and positive experience for them; this will familiarize them with the procedure. You might want to make their appointments in person, bringing them along, so that they get used to what the waiting room looks like and where the building is. The night before, get them excited about going to the dentist by making it sound like a grown-up and mature activity that they should be proud to ‘get’ to do. You could also plan to make a day of it by taking them to the park afterward, which gives them further incentive to participate.
As a parent, it’s crucial that you model good behavior and encourage everyday activities like oral hygiene. Make it both routine and fun, emphasizing its significance, and you’ll help them develop a lifetime of good dental care.
If you need more tips and tricks on how you can teach your child about oral hygiene, you can check out this dentist in Tampa FL, or one near you.