What Parents Can Do to Instill Dental Health Habits into Their Kids

One thing that a lot of parents tend to have an issue with is getting their kids to take their health seriously. Kids just don’t have the same state of mind as adults, so some things are seen more as an inconvenience. Kids don’t want to take baths, wash their hands, or even brush their teeth, it gets to the point where they understand why, but it takes time, so in the meanwhile, it’s the parents reminding their kids; it’s the parents looking after their kids teeth, and so on. But with that said, one of the more challenging things to teach is usually dental hygiene. 

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A lot of kids find brushing their teeth to be boring, they’re afraid of the dentist, they dislike the minty flavor of the toothpaste, and the list can go on and on. Even though a lot of kids, on average, dislike it, you know they need it, and they need to understand why it’s so important eventually. So, how can parents instill in their children the importance of developing healthy dental habits? Well, here’s everything you need to know!

You Just Need To Lead By Example

Why not do it together rather than just sending them to the bathroom to do it? Honestly, consider making brushing and flossing a family affair. Children often mimic their parent’s behavior, so you set a positive example by brushing and flossing together and creating a shared routine. This is a pretty simple way to get them to take it seriously, and it’s also a nice way to keep on eye on how they brush, how long, and wear. 

Consider Making It Fun

Alright, so this is really going to depend on the age of your child. If you have a teenager, you can skip this, but if you have a young one, such as eight, than you might want to consider this! Let your child choose a toothbrush and toothpaste with their favorite colors or characters. This simple choice can turn brushing into a fun and personal experience. You could even make brushing a game by using a timer or playing a short, upbeat song. 

There are even Tooth Tunes toothbrushes, which play music when kids are brushing their teeth; those toothbrushes are pretty cheap on Amazon. In general, if you have a young kid, just try to make this fun for them so they don’t have to see dental hygiene as some sort of punishment. 

Educate Them

You may even want to consider crafting stories or using children’s books that revolve around dental adventures. Narrate tales of brave tooth fairies and superhero dentists to make dental care exciting and less intimidating. Nowadays, there’s a lot of child-friendly dental content out there to educate them, from children’s stories to cartons, and there are more than enough YouTube videos out there for kids to watch too to learn about this. 

Consider Educating Through Apps

There are more than enough child-friendly flash games and apps out there that are dedicated to dental hygiene; this can actually be a pretty nice way to get them to learn and have fun at the same time. Most of these games are free, but be careful of in-app purchases since a lot of children’s apps are predatory like that. But overall, this is one of the main go-to ways that kids are being educated about dental hygiene nowadays. 

Let Them Choose

One thing to keep in mind is that kids want to have a say; they want to be able to make choices, and this can be a way to allow them to make choices. Allow your child to choose their toothpaste flavor or a child-friendly mouthwash. This involvement fosters a sense of ownership over their oral care routine. It really helps to take away the idea that it’s a punishment.

Let Them Know About Changes They’ll Go Through

As a parent, another thing you need to think of is not only getting your kid to understand how serious dental hygiene is, but they also need to understand the changes they’ll go through, such as their baby teeth falling out. This can also include things such as informing them about the potential for braces, how important their smile is, wisdom teeth, and so on. In general, as a parent, it’s going to get to the point where you’ll need to consider orthodontic insurance anyway since it’s usually around the tween era when children’s mouths change a lot and usually need things like braces. So, letting them know also gives you the chance to reflect on this. 

Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups

Needless to say, a lot of children are terrified of the dentists. It’s probably more unusual to have a child that isn’t afraid of a dentist. There are plenty of books and cartoons that even reference this common fear. So, as a parent, you need to help in creating a positive association. 

You’ll need to emphasize the positive aspects of dental visits, such as receiving stickers, choosing a prize from the treasure box, or enjoying the pleasant environment of the dental office. They need to learn eventually (sooner rather than later) that this isn’t a scary environment. 

Consider a Reward System

In a way, this piggybacks on what’s above because you want to create a positive association. So it’s going to help to create a reward system, but of course, a reward system is going to need some sort of tracking system in order for this to actually work. So, you could consider creating a sticker chart to track your child’s daily brushing and flossing. When they reach a certain number of stickers, reward them with a small, non-food treat or a special privilege. This is just a simple idea, but you know what’s going to work best for your kid.

Limit Their Sugar Intake

This is probably one of the biggest ones that makes children believe that this is nothing more than a punishment, but in the end, as a parent, you still need to do this. As you know, sugar isn’t good for you and certainly not for the teeth. Sure, in moderation, it’s fine, but you can’t have loads of it; it’s not healthy. 

So you’re going to have to teach your children about the impact of sugary snacks and drinks on their teeth. Explain how these treats can lead to cavities and emphasize the importance of a balanced diet for strong, healthy teeth. They need to understand that this isn’t a punishment but an actual need for their health. 

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