Maintaining proper dental health is imperative to one’s overall health and can be considered a family affair when everyone in the household is on the same page and prioritizes the health of their mouth. The best way to get everyone in the family on board and instilling good oral hygiene habits can begin with the parents and adults in the household to lead by example. Teaching your children the right and wrong ways to take care of their mouths will have a serious impact on their smiles for years and years to come. As a parent, you must consider many different facets of health and education when teaching your kids proper dental hygiene. When it comes to successfully delivering this lesson to them, showing kids what not to do is just as important as instilling in them the correct hygienic techniques and routines.
Start with the following tips, and your family will be well on their way to healthy smiles. To kick-start this essential lesson in your child’s life, let’s begin with a simple list of five DO’S and DON’TS:
DO show instead of tell.
Kids often benefit from a hands-on approach with this sort of teaching, so the best thing you can do for them is exhibit the proper technique in your own brushing habits. Learning by example is easier for virtually everyone, let alone children. After all, nothing does better to encourage your child to brush at regular, scheduled times than seeing Mom or Dad doing the same themselves.
DON’T instill improper techniques.
A lot of dental hygiene can seem pretty straightforward, but many bad habits get instilled by good parents with good intentions. Be sure to supervise to make sure proper brushing techniques are implemented, the right amount of toothpaste is being used, and none of said toothpaste is being consumed. Also make sure your kids are taking proper care of their gums without scrubbing them vigorously.
DO incorporate all other tools into the routine.
It should go without saying, but floss and mouthwash are very important to everyone’s overall dental health. Flossing is our best weapon against gum disease, and it should be a daily part of the dental hygiene routine for everybody in the family. Mouthwash is an easy way to fight off tooth decay and bad breath, so pick up a kid-friendly flavor next time you’re at the store.
DON’T make brushing feel like a tedious chore.
For far too many kids, brushing becomes another boring and/or tedious responsibility. Make sure to give them some freedom of choice in the routine whenever possible to make them feel like part of the decision-making process. Consider playing a song to help the time go by quickly, and always remember the final and most important tip on our list…
DO make brushing a fun, scheduled event.
Brushing time should always be something your kids enjoy. Surprise them with brushes in their favorite colors, or let them pick their own. Try out kid-friendly flavors of toothpaste, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find one they really like. The entire idea is to schedule something your family can do every day without it feeling laborious. You should also be sure to find a dentist your child likes, so they think of dental appointments as something fun instead of scary. The sooner you can make their dentist into their new friend, the better.