To those of us who have kids, their health and well-being is the top priority over everything else. Parents often obsess (in a good way) over every aspect of their kids’ health. Dental hygiene, however, does not always get the same treatment. This is unfortunate, because you know who absolutely has to have great dental hygiene? Kids. This article will give you the basic principles you will need to set your kids up on the right track for a healthy mouth.
As you probably know, habits and routines that we pick up as children often stay with us for the rest of our lives, and changing them later gets harder with every passing year. Therefore, it is crucial that your kids get into a good dental hygiene routine as soon as possible. There are essentially three overall principles you should teach your children: how to brush; how to floss; and how to watch what you eat.
Teaching a child how to properly brush is the cornerstone of good dental hygiene. Kids need active instruction, with the parents demonstrating and showing how to brush to the children. When they are old enough (usually around five or six), you can let them brush themselves under your supervision. Make sure to explain how they should brush in small circles around the mouth, instead of back and forth. They should also know to brush for at least a minute, and cover every side of their teeth. To seal the deal, make sure they do this every night for several months. If you do, they will develop a good habit.
The next thing you should teach a kid is how to floss. Merely brushing is not good enough, for kids or for adults. They also need to floss. Take some floss and explain to them that the brush does not get out all of the food. To get out all of the food, they need to use floss. Then, demonstrate on yourself, and carefully do so on them afterwards. I would not let them floss by themselves until they are at least eight, but if you get them to floss thoroughly, their teeth will be stronger.
Lastly, you need to share with your children what they should eat or drink. While you have total control over their diet at an early age, you will not always be there to monitor them later on. So, tell your children that they should not consume a lot of sugary drinks. They also should chew sugar-free gum, eat crunchy foods with fiber (like apples or celery for cleaning), and refrain from eating a lot of candy. And if they eat, they should brush their teeth if possible afterward, or should at least floss.
The above habits, if taught, will go a long way to teaching your kids good dental hygiene. They will have beautiful smiles – and will also save mom and dad a lot of money in the future.