As a parent, you do your best to ensure the health of your child. You make sure they eat well and that they have regular visits to the doctor. You make sure they spend time playing outdoors, and you make sure that they get plenty of sleep at night. What do you do about their oral health? Good oral hygiene habits are just as important for children as they are for adults. However, getting your child to practice good oral hygiene can be a bit challenging. Shenandoah Family Dentistry can provide you with tips on how to teach your child about good oral hygiene.
Take Your Child Shopping
Getting your child to brush and floss their teeth can be a daily struggle. One way that you can help to make it a little less so is to take your child shopping. Have you ever stopped to look at the wide variety of different oral care products aimed at children? Toothbrushes are made in bright colors and feature fun cartoon characters. Toothpaste and mouthwashes are available in more pleasant, child-friendly flavors. Instead of picking out oral care supplies for your child, let them choose their own. Many children are much more likely to use the products they select themselves.
Set an Example
To teach your child about good oral hygiene, it is essential that you model the behavior that you want to see. Let your child see you brushing and flossing your teeth. Take them with you when you have your routine dental cleanings and exams. You can also brush and floss your teeth with your child. Let them watch how you perform each task. You can also let them practice on your teeth. Keep an eye on how your child brushes their teeth and help them to get any areas that they miss. When your child sees you performing good oral hygiene, they are much more likely to see it as normal and be more willing to do it themselves.
Make it Fun
There are many ways that you can make brushing and flossing more fun. Read a book about brushing. There are plenty of books with easy to follow stories and engaging pictures that demonstrate how to brush and floss, and just how important these habits are. Sing a song or play music while your child brushes their teeth. You can even tell an adventure story about brushing. When these habits are more fun, your child may be more willing to do them.
Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
A big part of oral hygiene is brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. Another crucial component of good oral hygiene is what your child eats and drinks. We do understand that children can be picky, and getting them to eat healthy foods can be difficult. Keep plenty of fresh fruits and veggies on hand, such as apples, carrots, and celery sticks. In addition to being good for your child, these foods act as natural toothbrushes. Dairy products like cheese and yogurt are also a good choice.
Maintain Regular Dental Cleanings and Exams
Just like you, your child should have regular cleanings and exams every six months. These visits are essential for helping your child to prevent serious oral health issues and spot issues that are developing. It is important that you start these visits early. The AAPD recommends that your child is seen no later than their first birthday for their first appointment. During cleanings and exams, we can work with you and your child to help develop good habits at home.
Teaching your child about good oral hygiene will help them to develop good habits early on so that they can maintain good oral health their entire life. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call Shenandoah Family Dentistry at (540) 667-8731 today.