Giving your children the gift of good dental hygiene is a gift that will benefit them throughout their lives. Having strong healthy teeth goes beyond just having white teeth (although having a bright smile does so much for a person’s self confidence!). Good hygiene is a key aspect of good health in general. The mouth is the gateway to the entire body. In fact, the blood flow that circulates in the gums are one subway stop away from the blood that leads to the brain, on the body’s mass transportation system of blood vessels. An infection in your mouth is bad for your health. Like, really bad.
So how does a person help their children develop good dental hygiene? It might feel particularly overwhelming when you have to wrestle your child down just to get a tooth brush in their mouth at all. We know, we’ve been there too. We’ve put together a list of simple tips to make it easy.
Three Simple Tips for Helping a Child Develop Good Dental Hygiene
- Make going to the dentist a part of life.
One in three adults don’t get dental care they need because they have anxiety about visiting the dentist. In fact, they wouldn’t even be in a position where they needed oral surgeons care at all if they had just gotten their six month checkups for a cleaning and exam along the way. But as years and years go by, small cavities turn into big cavities turn into extensive dental decay turn into tooth loss and bigger issues.
You want to avoid all of this for your kids. Make sure they treat their six month dental visits as if it’s a part of life. Establish a habit of taking them to the dentist twice a year. By the time their adults, it will be natural to continue seeking bi-annual dental care, and most of all, they won’t be afraid of it.
If your child already has anxiety about going to the dentist, scope out childrens dentistry practices that specialize in creating a fun and not-scary environment so that your child get’s comfortable with going to the dentist.
- Make brushing twice a day a part of life.
Fact. The human mouth is gross. There are billions for bacteria colonies teeming in your mouth. In fact, if you did a swab of your mouth and compared it to a swab of a public toilet seat, you might be mortified to discover that the toilet seat has less bacteria than your mouth. Ew.
While having bacteria in your mouth is a part of life, brushing does wonders to prevent those bacteria bad guys from eating away at your tooth enamel and causing decay. When you brush your teeth, it’s like pressing the reset button on the bacteria populations. Yes, they’ll pop back up, but it takes some time to rebuild their empire, in which they aren’t able to eat away at your teeth. When they are able to regain a foothold, it will be about time to brush again.
If your child has anxiety about putting a toothbrush in their mouth, it might be a struggle to get them to brush at all — let alone twice a day. This is normal; don’t feel bad about it. You might find success by turning it into a game. Think “peek a boo” but the boo part is touching their teeth with the brush. Eventually, they’ll warm up to it and will allow you to proceed with the brushing.
- Make flossing a part of life.
You might be thinking, “Flossing can’t be that important. I don’t floss.” but for reals… flossing is real important. The tooth brush is only able to clean out the bacteria it can reach. That means the teeth bugs in between your teeth can still subside and wreak havoc on your mouth. When you floss those pearly whites, it gets all the gunk from the hard to reach spots that your tooth brush can’t reach. It adds an extra layer of protection against dental decay.
If your child has anxiety about flossing, you might find success with the playful dental flossing teeth picks found in the grocery store. They make flossing fun.
Do you have questions about helping a child learn dental hygiene? Please share below!