As adults, dental hygiene is something we do every day of our lives. It becomes an effortless task that we carry out twice a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So how do we make sure that our children, from a young age to teen years, understand the importance of good dental hygiene? How do we as parents encourage them to perform this daily necessity and instil in them a dental hygiene routine that they will carry into adulthood?
Creating A Habit Depends on When And How Teaching Starts
The perfect time to teach your child the importance of dental hygiene and to help them build good cleaning habits is from a very young age, way before they have their permanent teeth. With most children, brushing teeth may end up in tantrums, trauma, disinterest, tears and even avoidance. A bad first experience will most certainly affect the child’s dental habits for the rest of his or her life so it’s important that the first few introductions to teeth cleaning is fun, enjoyable and done with praise.
Introduce This New Soon-To-Be-Habit in A Child-Friendly Way
It is important to understand what your child likes and dislikes when introducing a toothbrush and toothpaste. Make sure the colour of the toothbrush appeals to them. Picking a themed toothbrush with pictures of superheros or cartoon characters on it will receive positive responses. When buying toothpaste and child-friendly mouthwash, consider what flavours your child enjoys. Better yet, getting your child to choose his or her toothbrush and toothpaste will further promote the use of them later on. Once you’ve got your child loving his or her toothbrush and toothpaste, it’s time to get them loving the act of teeth cleaning.
Watching Mom And Dad Do It Daily, Means They Do It Daily
Finding all the right dental tools to help your child enjoy the experience of dental hygiene is just the beginning of the journey. The next step to carry out is the actual brushing of teeth and flossing if the child is old enough to floss. Children need to do both twice a day, when they wake up and before they go to bed. To make dental care and hygiene a habit and then a routine, you need to enforce dental cleaning every morning and afternoon without fail.
If still young, parents are encouraged to assist their children every time they brush their teeth and to show them how to do it properly. Praise works wonders in getting the child excited and motivated to brush their teeth, and brush their teeth well. If slightly older, the child might find encouragement if doing it with their parents instead of alone. Seeing mom and dad brushing and flossing will encourage them to do it.
The importance of dental hygiene habits is only as important as the parents make it out to be. So, parents, it’s vital for you to create this routine for your child. Introducing repercussions for bad dental habits is vital with avoidance, bad behaviour and improper cleaning receiving appropriate reprimanding, consequences and disapproval.
Bad Dental Hygiene Now Means Bad Teeth Later on
Expect your child to spend most of his or her teen years, and then their adult life, suffering from bad dental health, and subsequent physical symptoms, as well as non-stop visits to the dentist chair if dental habits aren’t instilled at a young age and dental care continues to be poor or lacking. Expect physical pain and discomfort associated with mouth, teeth and gum problems, costly dentist appointments, constant minor dental treatments such as fillings, major mouth diseases and tooth replacement treatments - and even a toothless-mouth – if not ensuring good dental hygiene habits from a young age.
Further Cleaning Needed? Take A Trip to The Dentist!
When all else fails, there’s still hope for a healthy mouth for your little one. Pacific Dental Smiles, a leading Kids Dentist in Ontario CA, offers teeth cleaning and preventative care for children, among other paediatric dentistry solutions. Our friendly dentists believe in the importance of kids’ dental hygiene habits, so book an appointment with us now and let us help your children to learn about proper dental care and help you to encourage them to have good hygiene habits.