When it comes to kid’s dentistry, there is nothing as important as making sure your kids have good dental habits. If you can help your kids get in the habit of brushing 2-3 times per day, flossing daily, and taking care of their dental health, it will go long way in preventing dental issues including cavities, gingivitis, and tooth loss. But many parents struggle to get their kids into a good rhythm, especially long term. This is especially challenging for teenagers and because a child’s life is constantly changing, so establishing a daily habit can be hit or miss. Here are a few tips on how to overcome that issue with your kids.
One common issue among families is where one or both parents do not keep proper dental habits. Not modeling good behavior will make it hard for your children. Young kids usually emulate their parents, and even teenagers look to the parents day to day life to understand what habits they should be adopting. Making sure to brush after breakfast and dinner and to floss daily will make it easier for your kids to develop the same habits.
Brushing and flossing before bed are extremely important for children. On average teens and kids are getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. During that time, excess plaque and food particles can cause a lot of damage to their teeth. That is why it is important to establish an expected nightly routine. Part of establishing good habits is consistency. Bedtimes make it easier for young kids to know when they need to start changing into sleepwear, brush their teeth, and get to bed. In the same vein, it is important to establish a morning routine for your kids. A common problem, especially for teenagers is not waking up with enough time to complete all of the morning activities before school. It is important to prioritize getting up early enough to eat, pack backpacks, and brush teeth. One recommendation is that teenagers do prep work before bed: packing their backpack, laying out clothing for tomorrow, etc. This gives them more time in the morning to handle brushing.
When your kids are old enough to brush and floss on their own, it is important to find ways to make it desirable. Let your kids pick out toothpaste, toothbrushes, and decorate floss containers with stickers. Kids are more likely to enjoy brushing if they feel a sense of ownership of their dental tools. Many families encourage their children with a daily calendar. These can help kids keep track of their brushing and flossing and can even be a point of healthy competition between siblings. Rewarding good behavior goes a long way in establishing good habits.
As dentists, it is our job to help make dental health more fun and accessible for kids. This is why so many kids dental offices are decorated and come with toys. We want to help every boy and girl enjoy cleaning their teeth and develop healthy habits. If you need ideas on how to help your little one maintain their smile, send us a message.
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