Proper dental hygiene is not just for adults – kids can and should participate, too!
How should we treat the teeth of our children and infants, and how can we make tooth care fun? Read on for ideas!
Infant Oral Care
Babies simply can’t brush or floss on their own, so it is up to you to brush their teeth for them. There are soft toothbrushes that are available for all levels of development. Accompany your baby’s tooth care routine with lots of praise, giggles, and happiness so that they will look forward to the experience and not fear the brush! Toothpaste should not be used on a baby, simply clean with water and your special baby toothbrush.
Something else to remember: a baby’s teeth should all be the same color, and if any spots appear it is important to take your child to the dentist.
At this age, your children will inevitably be insistent that they don’t need your help to care for their teeth, but they don’t actually have the fine hand control that will be necessary for proper brushing and flossing until they hit the age of seven. Let them perform the initial brushing themselves, then follow up with your helping hands.
The more your children see you following the proper procedure at this age, the better it will be for them. Remember that children like to mimic their elders, and if you make a point of having family brushing/flossing time, it’ll better solidify the idea of doing this for the rest of their lives.
Continue to encourage oral health care with fun activities, like coloring and activity sheets that you can get from some dentist’s offices, or by letting your kids pick colorful toothbrushes that feature their favorite cartoon characters. Accessories that they like are also important and can make them look forward to taking care of themselves!
In order to encourage your kids to eat tooth-healthy foods, you need to do so yourself. Get them into the habit of eating healthy foods and being consistent with their oral care by doing these things for yourself. Kids are more observant than you’d think! You can make milk, for example, fun by giving them silly straws to use, or putting their drink into a fun container. Get your kids to help you make their healthy meals so that they have the hands-on experience of controlling their own dental health.
When our kids become teenagers, it’s difficult to have much control over what they do, but if they were raised with proper habits they will continue them as they get older. Don’t stop doing what you expect them to do – just because they’re old enough to operate on their own doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook, you still need to take care of your mouth, too, and teenagers still pay attention to what their parents do, even if they insist otherwise.