Making sure your kids keep their teeth clean can be challenging as a parent. As well as the nightly battle to ensure they’re brushing for the recommended two minutes, you’re also faced with the frequent requests for fizzy drinks, sugary snacks, and other enemies to healthy teeth and gums.
However, setting kids up with a great oral health routine is vital and could significantly impact their overall health as adults. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to many conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and the extent to which an individual is prone to infection.
Use the guide below to put in place the routine your kids need to ensure their teeth and gums are clean and healthy – without the hassle!
The Brushing Basics
Kids should brush their teeth twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste, for two minutes at a time. You can start gently brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth comes through – this is a great way to build good habits early.
Until kids are at least eight years old – and even beyond this – they’ll need supervision when brushing to ensure they’re doing a proper job and to minimize incidences of swallowing the toothpaste.
Make this a fun time by buying your child a toothbrush in their favorite color or featuring a cartoon character they love. Why not put on a much-loved song with a run time of around two minutes to help them know how long to brush for? Once they’ve brushed, do a final ‘check’ brush to ensure all the surfaces of the teeth have been cleaned properly.
Issues with Misalignment
As your child’s adult teeth come through, you may notice that one or more teeth are misaligned. Once all of their adult teeth erupted, resolving misalignment issues is now easy and often discreet. Your child’s dentist will usually refer them to an orthodontist to discuss treatment if required.
At-home treatment, incorporating clear aligners, is a popular option for adults and young adults alike and can deliver results fast. Have a look at these Smile Club Direct reviews to get an idea of how this service works in practice and the experience of other users.
Get Creative to Cut Back Sugar
Sugar is not your child’s friend when it comes to healthy teeth. Sugary drinks and snacks can lead to the development of plaque, cavities, and gum disease – and all the problems associated with these things.
Unfortunately, sweets, doughnuts, fizzy drinks, chocolate, and the like are so appealing to kids and adults alike that finding a way to replace them may seem impossible. By getting a little creative, however, you can make the switch without inducing tantrums or tears.
Bright colors and interesting textures are the way to go: think roasted vegetable sticks with hummus dip, a homemade berry and nut trail mix, sliced boiled eggs, pretzels, or diced avocado. Switch out the squash or fizzy drinks for water infused with a squeeze of lemon and lime, or strawberries and mint, for water with a tasty twist. Keeping things interesting is the way to go.
Introduce Dental Visits Early
It’s a great idea to take your child for their first visit to the dentist as early as possible – once they’ve got their first tooth, you can book a visit if you wish. The idea is to get your little one used to the dentist’s office so they feel comfortable going for a check-up as they get older.
Your dentist will most likely go out of their way to make this a fun experience for your child, and they may even get a sticker as a reward for their excellent work! Keep taking your child to visit the dentist regularly; this will ensure they’re used to the check-up process and means any problems will get picked up – and resolved – early on. Your dentist is also a great source of information and advice and can give your little one a demonstration of proper brushing techniques and answer any questions you have as a parent. As your child gets older, they may wish to introduce flossing into their routine, and your dentist can give you information on the techniques to use for this, too.
Model a Great Oral Hygiene Routine
Young kids look to their parents to figure out the world and how to interact with it. One of the best ways to ensure your kids develop a great, lifelong oral hygiene routine is to model a good practice yourself.
Brushing your teeth together in the morning, and setting a two-minute timer as you do so, is a brilliant place to start. Modeling healthy food choices is critical, too, as is ensuring that you regularly visit the dentist for a check-up: booking a family appointment may be especially helpful for nervous kids. Letting them see you in the chair first can often help ease anxiety.
Finding fun ways to encourage your child to take the best care of their teeth possible can make your daily routine run more smoothly and give them the tools they need for an effective lifelong oral hygiene routine – without a screaming fit in sight.