Kids are sponges. They are always learning new things. They learn their ABCs. They learn to swim. They learn to tie their shoes. So it’s only natural that they’d need to learn to take care of their teeth.
While it may seem like an easy thing to teach your child, good dental hygiene is a skill that requires practice – especially for children. You want them to develop good habits so that they can avoid things like cavities and gum disease.
If you want to help your children learn to take care of their teeth – keep these things in mind. They will help children to establish good habits when it comes to their teeth.
- Have Them Watch You Brush Your Teeth: One of the simplest ways a child can learn about proper dental hygiene is to watch you. Invite your child to watch you brush and floss your teeth. When you model good habits, children will be more likely to follow suit. You can even have them bring their toothbrush with them and brush together.
- Let Them Pick a Toothbrush and Toothpaste: When you let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste, you help to give them ownership in the process. Bring them to the store and let them pick out their very own as a special treat.
- Show Them How to Brush Their Own Teeth: Knowing how to brush their teeth is not a skill that children are born with. When they are little, you will need to brush for them so that their baby teeth do not develop cavities. Eventually, as they age and practice the skill, they can brush and floss on their own with you supervising. Instruct them on how long they should be brushing and how to properly floss. Super Simple has a great video for young kids to help you out!
- Provide Them With Healthy Foods: While kids love sugary treats, stock your house with healthy foods that can actually help their teeth. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent snacks and beneficial for oral hygiene.
- Encourage Them to Drink Water: Juices and sports drinks taste great, but they are hard on teeth. When sticky substances are allowed to sit on the teeth, cavities can develop. And, while you may think that cavities in baby teeth are no big deal, they can be detrimental to the development of permanent teeth. Water is the best choice for children.
- Schedule an Appointment With the Dentist: Regular dental checkups are important for everyone, and that includes children. Schedule an initial appointment so that your child can meet the dentist and understand what role the dentist plays in helping a child with their teeth. There are pediatric dentists who work exclusively with children if you feel that would make your child feel more comfortable.
- Show Them That It’s Fun: When it comes to teaching your child about taking care of their teeth, be sure to show them that it’s fun. Find a two-minute song to play while they brush their teeth. (Two minutes is the recommended amount of time to brush your teeth.) Create a sticker chart that records when they brush and floss. You can even provide a reward as they learn to take care of their teeth.
Helping your child to create good dental habits is an important skill. Show your child how important their teeth are and why they are worth taking care of – so they will have healthy teeth for a lifetime.