Oral health is an important part of your child’s health. Cavities, premature decay, and other dental issues can make eating uncomfortable for your child. In addition, poor dental hygiene can lead to cosmetic issues, both now and when their permanent teeth erupt. Instilling good oral hygiene habits is an important part of parenting but it can also be very challenging. Implementing some or all of these ideas can help ensure your child develops the habits they needs to keep their smile healthy for a lifetime.
Take Advantage of Interest
Most children go through a phase when they want to be treated as more mature than they are. Take advantage of this period to hand over the dental hygiene responsibilities to your child. You will need to check their work and make sure they are keeping up with the routine, but take the time to show them how to brush, floss, rinse and perform any other steps you include in their dental routine. Explain the importance of each step and let them know what a responsibility it is, but that you have faith in them.
Treat Potential Issues Early
Your child should see a dentist for the first time around the age of one or within six months of getting their first tooth. Your dentist can then put your child on a schedule for recommended visits. If something about their teeth or smile doesn’t look right to you, don’t feel shy about consulting a cosmetic dentist. Parents are often tempted to let potential problems slide because they only involve baby teeth, but during this period of rapid growth a lot of changes, both positive and negative, can occur.
Have the Right Tools for the Job
An electric toothbrush is easier for young hands to use properly than a manual one. You can even get them with built-in timers. If the one you select does not have a timer, add a simple kitchen timer to your supplies so your child will know when they have brushed long enough. Your child may find individual dental flossers easier to use than traditional floss. A dental rinse designed for kids can be a fun way to end their routine. Don’t forget a stool so they can easily reach the sink and see in the mirror.
Model Good Behavior
When it comes down to it, children do what they see. While you don’t always need to stand alongside your child and perform your dental routine together forever, it is a good way to ensure they know exactly what they should do and how to do it. Even after they know how and what is expected it doesn’t hurt to leave your bathroom door open on occasion so they can see you taking care of your oral hygiene. Shop together for new toothbrushes and let them have input on the type of toothpaste and other supplies they may like.