How to Teach Your Kids Proper Dental Hygiene
Dental hygiene may just be the one health habit that matters the most, out of all self-care habits. Numerous studies show that the oral cavity is a gateway for the entire body, and any issues or infections that encroach here have a significant impact on our overall health.
Stressing Out Why Oral Hygiene for Kids Is SO Important
Building a good dental hygiene routine may be one of the best things we ever do for ourselves, ensuring a high quality of life up to very old ages. It’s true that the importance of oral health only becomes more measurable when studying older adults, because you can compare results easier between those who are keeping good oral health and those who aren’t. But starting good habits early on is crucial.
There are also studies which link proper health hygiene in children with a higher quality of life. What can be certain is that as children age, there will be more than a generic quality of life benefit to reap as a benefit for maintaining good oral hygiene. According to Healthrow’s dental experts, even seemly unrelated health issues (like heart health, for example), can be traced back to the health of a person’s teeth and gums.
Of course, it’s hard to explain to kids all of this and expect them to understand it all, especially if they’re very young. This is why teaching them about how to take care of their teeth and helping them build a god routine must rely on other solutions.
The 3 Factors to Consider When Teaching Your Kids Dental Hygiene
#1. Age-relevant dental hygiene education
Some parents argue that the first few years of a child’s life may be the hardest, beyond even the dreaded adolescence period with its potential turmoil. Those few first years of life are particularly challenging because, as adults, we are used to reason with one another, and with a child that small reasoning isn’t really an option.
For really young kids, you probably already know how important it is to create a predictable bedtime routine. Small children relish repetition, it comforts them much like a story they already know by heart, but still enjoy hearing.
This is an ideal opportunity to integrate an oral hygiene routine into the nappy time ritual. Pair the brushing of the teeth with a nice song or some dance moves which you can repeat every night, and your kid will get hooked.
When your children grow older, you can also encourage them to take in interest in oral health by keeping them informed about latest developments of research in the field. As you read up on something interesting, you can also use it as a conversation topic with your kid.
For example, there is still debate among experts on whether removing impacted wisdom teeth is better than leaving them be. Since this is likely to become an issue in the life of any young adult, it can be a most welcome topic of discussion with a teenager.
#2. Making it fun
Don’t forget that if you make it fun, more than half of the work is already done. The only thing that can make your efforts to teach your kids dental hygiene fail, in spite of your best intentions, is coming across as nagging. Nothing will make a child resist an idea more than feeling he or she is pushed into it.
Here are a few ideas on how to make your teeth brushing routine fun, if your kids are relatively young (3-8 years old):
- Brush your own teeth at the same time and make it a fun moment by goofing around and encouraging them to imitate you;
- Play music and sing a song, using the toothbrush as a microphone;
- If you want, you can also try to buy them an electric toothbrush for small kids, which employs a cartoon character to guide them and tell them precisely the type of movements they should make, like in a game.
We do realize that any of these ideas above may turn the bedroom routine into an hour-long affair, and that some nights you’d just get it over with as soon as possible so you can crash as well.
Still, if you encourage your kids to take the lead in taking care of their teeth, even if it may get an unrequired 20 minutes of play time into the teeth brushing procedure, you will instill a healthy habit for a lifetime.
#3. Scheduling regular check-ups at a kid-friendly dentist
Last, but not least, it’s important to find a doctor who is truly experienced in working with children and making them feel at ease. The 6-month checkup should be a routine accepted by children as normal and expected, so they will hopefully continue up-keeping the habit in their adult lives, as well.
For really small kids, it’s important that the dental practice you find looks like a playground full of nice toys, so that it becomes a non-threatening environment.
For older kids, it’s important to find a dentist with the patience to explain the entire procedure truthfully, instead of glossing things over along the lines of ‘this won’t hurt one bit’ followed by a painful procedure. Older children can build up resentment pretty fast, so trusting them with the truth can go a long way. If the doctor can also spark up their scientific curiosity in the explanations offered, it’s even better.
A healthy attitude towards dental hygiene will spark up a healthy attitude towards taking care of their health in general. If you manage to get your children to take dental care seriously, you are already halfway towards laying the foundations for a thoughtful and responsible adult.
Of course, fun can always remain a small part of any responsible behavior. This is precisely why your kids will remember your moments together with the toothbrushes fondly.