Getting your family, especially the youngest members, to practice proper oral hygiene at home can be challenging. The key is starting early and encouraging healthy habits with positive reinforcement.
Be a Dental Role Model
When your baby’s first tooth emerges, make a big deal about it. Tell them how beautiful it is and celebrate each new tooth’s arrival.
Talk about oral health. Show kids that you value your smile and fresh breath. Model that appreciation in your interactions with your partner and your children.
Introduce your Child to the Dentist Early
The younger your child is when they have their first dental exam, the less likely they are to develop a severe fear of the dentist. They might accompany a parent to a routine cleaning or have a tour of the office.
Many practices offer stress-free first appointment to help put children at ease. A visit like this may include the dentist counting your toddler’s teeth and demonstrating dental tools.
At about age five or six, talk to the dentist about having a custom-made mouth guard made for your child. This appliance is useful to protect your kids’ teeth during athletic or other high-risk physical activities. It is especially helpful if a child grinds their teeth at night.
Discuss Proper Techniques
Teach your kids to brush for two minutes, starting by tilting the toothbrush bristles toward the gum line, and brushing the fronts of each tooth on the upper arch in a circular motion. Repeat on the lower arch, then use quick, vertical strokes to clean the backs of teeth. Finally, brush all of the chewing surfaces and finish with mouthwash or rinse.
When it comes to flossing, small children often do better with flossing sticks but require supervision as with any pointy object.
Turn Brushing and Flossing into Healthy Family Time
Brushing and flossing together gives you the opportunity to monitor your children’s progress and spend time together doing something that not only helps preserve your family’s oral health but their overall well-being too. Make your shared oral hygiene routine a positive experience by praising healthy.
Use Dental Visuals
Help your family understand the advantages of healthy teeth and gums. Don’t be afraid to show your kids detailed photos of teeth and gums that were not cared for and the not-so-pretty consequences.
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way to Ensuring Your Family’s Oral Health
Making your family’s oral health routine a priority is well worth the effort; think about the time and money you will save by promoting healthy teeth and gums in all members of your family.
Let San Gabriel Valley Family Dental help you safeguard the smiles of your loved ones.
Call our compassionate dental team today!