Children’s Oral Hygiene: How to Build Healthy Habits
Parents are well aware of how crucial good oral hygiene habits are for the long-term oral health of their children. However, there are still misconceptions about caring for baby teeth. As baby teeth will fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth eventually, some parents make the mistake of neglecting their children’s baby teeth. Unfortunately, unhealthy baby teeth can have long-term effects, ultimately leading to unhealthy adult teeth.
Building Healthy Habits
As mentioned, baby teeth should be equally cared for by parents, as these can impact the growth of adult teeth later on. As soon as the child can start brushing his/her own teeth, parents should strive to instill healthy habits. Here are some helpful tips on how parents can go about it:
1. Set a good example – Young children have a natural inclination to mimic their parents. It’s a major milestone in their development. Parents, on their part, can use this to their advantage by setting a good example to their kids. Creating and establishing healthy habits need to be reinforced through actions or setting up a routine. Instead of simply reminding their kids to go to the bathroom and brush their teeth, parents should accompany them and let them see how they do it. Doing this even hits two birds with one stone — parents can build healthy habits among their children while bonding and spending quality time with them at the same time.
2. Make it fun – Parents shouldn’t expect their children to understand right away how important teeth-brushing is. They can go on and on with long-winded explanations or exaggerate the consequences of poor oral hygiene habits but at the end of the day, kids will be kids. This is why parents should instead try to make teeth-brushing fun. These days there are apps available for this specific purpose. Some apps have music and timers in them while some incorporate story-telling to encourage young children to brush for the whole two minutes.
3. Let them decide – Another powerful way parents can build healthy oral hygiene habits among their kids is to include them in the discussion and decision-making process. Parents can let their kids have a say in what toothbrush they use or what toothpaste they like, for example. This doesn’t mean however giving children total control. Parents can filter the choices and let the child choose among the options that have been narrowed down. In the end, this can give the child motivation because they participated; exercising their budding independence.