Kids love sweets, chocolates and anything else that is loaded with sugar. Unfortunately, all these foods are what cause cavities. All the while, they usually run away at the sight of a toothbrush. As parents, it is our duty to ensure our little ones practice good oral hygiene from the get-go. Nail these tips and you will put the kids on the right path to continue good oral hygiene routines as they grow older.
Watch their diet
What food children consume affects their oral health immensely. You may not realise it, but even foods and drinks that seem like they are healthy often have very high sugar contents. Fruit juice is a great example of this. Many parents believe it's great because it’ll be one of their kids 5 a day, but many of these juices have very high amounts of sugar in them that can start decaying your child's teeth. Limit sugary snacks and treats as well. Usually foods like sweets and chocolates are a child's heaven but these snacks erode the enamel of teeth and make them vulnerable to cavities.
Don’t share germs
As a family sometimes people feel like it's normal to drink from the same cups and share utensils. But do not share pacifiers, bottles, utensils or other items with your kids or allow them to be shared with others. Our mouths are filled with bacteria and those bacterias being passed around through those objects are not healthy. Do not normalise sharing objects you put in your mouth. Be sure to sanitise all items that may be in your children’s mouth in order to prevent any bacterial infections.
Be a role model
Kids imitate those around them, it’s in their nature. If they see you brushing twice a day, every day, that is what they will mimic. If you demonstrate good oral habits, they will too. Allowing your kids to brush their teeth with you, may also make the experience a bit more fun for them.
Many children don’t brush correctly or avoid brushing all together because they see it as a chore. Brushing with you, allowing children to buy TV character toothbrushes and making brushing time a fun time will entice them to brush their teeth. As more teeth come through, begin to use age appropriate toothbrushes with a little amount of toothpaste for children to get used to the taste.
Teach them good habits
Brushing isn’t something that comes naturally, it is learnt. Brushing properly and effectively needs to be taught. Show kids under the age of 3 how to use a rice size amount of toothpaste and how to brush each side of their mouth. Once kids understand how to spit rather than swallow the paste, they can use a pea-size amount. When teeth have grown to touch each other, kids can begin to floss and rinse with mouthwash daily.
Rather than sending them into the bathroom and getting on with it on their own, turn brushing into a family affair that you can do together. If you brush with them you will be able to monitor their brushing technique and correct them when it’s necessary. Children usually need supervision when brushing their teeth until the age of 8 years old.
See a dentist
It is important to start visiting the dentist as soon as you start seeing teeth grow on your little ones. The dentist will be able to examine whether there are any cavities or decay and will be able to advise you on the way to ensure the best oral care routine for your child. Starting these visits from a young age is imperative, it also helps children get used to the dentist and helps reduce their fear.
Talk to them
This one sounds like a cliche but you need to talk to your kids, especially about dental health. Talking about the dentist and normalising good oral hygiene will help more kids to stop fearing the dentist and understand the importance of brushing. You also should talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have about thumb sucking, losing teeth or anything else that may concern you.
Taking care of your child’s teeth doesn't have to be a big ordeal. In the same respect, brushing is like any other activity, some children love showering, some children hate it. It’s up to you to make the experience enticing and enjoyable for them to know that although it is a necessity that they need to do, it can also be a fun activity. Using incentives and rewards for good brushing will also entice children to be more willing to take care of their teeth.
Go on mums and dads, Make it fun!