Just like learning how-to’s or reinforcing life skills, the younger you start the more likely those learned habits and skills will stick. With good role modeling and setting healthy routines as a family, your kids will likely follow suit. Of course, there are always exceptions, outliers, or stubbornness that seems to never wear down. But if you stay on the course and keep consistent with expectations, you will most likely see the results that will keep your little ones’ oral health in check.
When is it Time to Teach?
The earlier the better! Obviously, you must wait for fine motor skills to kick in, but you as a parent can set the example with your own oral health care. Gently wipe your babies’ gums with a washcloth in the morning and at night. At around 6 months old when teeth begin to pop out, begin introducing them to an age-appropriate toothbrush and paste.
The Habits You Want to Teach
• Regular dental checkups are important and typically twice a year, but check with your dentist for patient-specific follow-ups.
• Brush and floss twice daily, morning and night!
• Eating foods that keep your teeth strong and healthy – some of them even help keep your teeth clean – carrots, apples, celery, strawberries, dairy, nuts, and leafy greens.
• Avoid sugary drinks and foods to keep cavities from forming.
Make it Fun!
Finding a way to make chores and necessary habits more enjoyable is a great way to keep kids on the healthy path without too much complaint. As a kid, picking your own toothbrush and toothpaste flavor can be the key to your kids’ oral health commitment. Perhaps a reward system for good brushing behavior will instill some motivation in your child. Even creating a fun coloring tracker or reminder board that can stay in the bathroom to help reinforce the importance of daily brushing and care for our teeth.
Oral health care is so important because it is the gateway to affecting your whole system. Therefore, being persistent and consistent in teaching your kids is not a waste of time. It is vital and no one said it would be easy, but stick with your guidance through rewards, educating, and setting the example by prioritizing your own oral health.