Attempting to baptize a cat is probably easier than getting your children to follow good oral hygiene practices. The important part is that you don’t give up, healthy adult teeth start as healthy young teeth. Here are 7 dental tips to help you with your kid’s oral hygiene and in your fight against dreaded cavities and decay.
- Let Them Choose Their Own Toothbrush
Shiny, pretty things are almost always the answer when you want to distract your child from something they don’t like or don’t want to do. By letting your child choose their own toothbrush you are giving them some control over a situation they may not feel in control of. Some kids, well…most kids if I’m honest, don’t appreciate rules and don’t listen to reasoning at first. Instead of letting this make you tear your hair out, let them think they have control over at least one aspect of brushing their teeth.
- User A Timer
I remember having a giant owl timer as a child that I got to use whenever I brushed my teeth. I’m somewhat older than your average millennial so mine still had sand running through it but it still served its purpose – it gave me something to focus on during that tedious brushing time. These days you can get timers that play songs or have other distracting sounds to keep your kids happy and calm. If all else fails, you could sing to them for the appropriate amount of time – I’m fairly sure me singing would have the opposite effect but maybe you’re different.
- Eat Healthy Foods
Following a healthy diet doesn’t only benefit your physical and mental wellbeing, it also goes a long way in protecting your teeth from harm. This is especially important during your kid’s formative years. Eat loads of fresh fruit and veggies, limit refined carbs and always stay hydrated with water. Choose whole grains and whole foods and keep whole teeth!
- Keep Dental Appointments
You may not think it is necessary to go for a dental check-up every six months because your kid’s teeth seem fine. They may very well be fine, especially if you have taught your children to look after their pearly whites – the problem is what lies in the unseen areas. It is so vital to stick to the check-up dates instead of putting them off. Visiting the dentist is usually a bit of a daunting task for most parents, especially for those parents whose angels have special needs. It is imperative to find a dentist that will know how best to handle these tricky situations and offer solutions, like Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry for Children and Individuals with Special Needs.
- Avoid Sugary Food & Drinks
The number one food to avoid to keep your kid’s teeth in great condition is sugar. Sugar is a necessary evil but you need to do your best to avoid all refined sugar and food items with added sugar. Sugar is a breeding ground for bacteria, as the bacteria eat they produce an acidic waste and it is this acidic waste that causes tooth decay. This is one of the reasons why carbonated soft drinks are so bad for your teeth, the acids attack your enamel and lead to cavities and decay – even diet sodas are acidic, so these should be avoided too.
- Brush Twice Daily
It is so important to teach your children to brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day. When they brush their teeth, they help remove food and plaque. Plaque is a sticky white film that forms on your teeth and contains bacteria (the same acid-pooping bacteria from my point above…) and your kids need to be taught about why this is bad for you and them. You need to make sure you give them the correct information, information is so empowering to young minds. In my experience, sharing the reasons why we don’t cut corners with our oral hygiene with our kids ultimately helps them to make better decisions for themselves.
- Keep Things Fun
While you are first trying to get your kids into a healthy routine, you should reward them along the way. I can clearly remember my brother and I having a star chart when we were kids. I racked up the gold stars like they were going out of fashion and my brother kept stealing mine to try make up for the glaringly obvious deficit. It is the fun things that keeps kids willing to carry on with chores, don’t lose sight of that – they are only little and deserve so much brightness in their worlds.