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Raising a kid is perhaps one of the hardest jobs in the world. At the same time, it is also the most satisfying, especially if you see your child healthy and happy.
Among others, one of the most difficult parts of being a parent is getting your child to develop a dental hygiene routine. A task as simple as toothbrushing can end up being a nightmare!
If you are clueless about how to help your child build a better habit for oral health, we’ve got you. Keep reading and learn from the tips we’ll be sharing.
Help Your Child Develop Good Dental Habits With These Five Tips
From keeping toddlers entertained to teaching kids to become more responsible, parents have a long list of seemingly endless tasks. Below, however, we will focus on making sure that your child grows up prioritizing oral health.
Go to the Dentist Early On
Do not wait before your child is too old to schedule a regular dental visit. When you start them young, they will realize how important such a visit is, and hence, they will not be afraid to go back.
Ideally, parents should take their kids to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears. This should be no later than the kid’s first birthday. According to Dentaly, the first tooth appears around the ages of six to 10 months, but this can happen even sooner.
Even if there is just a single tooth, the dentist can provide the necessary treatments and recommendations. As kids get older, they will be used to such visits.
It is natural for kids to fear a dental visit. In one study, the findings indicate that the fear is rooted in the perceived pain of tooth extraction and local anesthesia. Whatever is the reason why they are scared, parents must be proactive. Make sure that they are at ease.
Finding a trustworthy dentist is also important. Ask around from other parents, so you can find a dentist with the gentlest hands that your child will love.
If your kids don’t like the dentist, one thing that might make them change their minds is role-playing. During make-believe play, act as a dentist and your kid is the patient. Let your child know that the entire process will be easy on their part. This will make them more familiar with what happens during a dental visit, which can eliminate uncertainties and fears.
Develop a Healthy Eating Habit
It is also a given that a healthy diet equates to good dental health. Nonetheless, anyone who has been a parent knows one thing—kids are picky eaters. They won’t just munch anything that you give them. Most of the time, they will prefer unhealthy treats, including chocolates and candies laden with sugar, which is bad for their teeth.
To instill good dental habits in children, make sure that they have healthy eating habits. It should start as early as possible, so they will have good practice as they grow up. The later you start, the harder it is to encourage healthy eating, especially once you have already introduced them to junk food.
Raw fruits and vegetables are on the top of the list of foods that are beneficial to the oral health of children. Those with high water volume are the best, including melons, celery, cucumbers, and pears. Calcium-rich foods are also must-haves, which will strengthen their teeth. Meanwhile, they should avoid sweetened beverages, as well as those high in sugar, starches, and carbohydrates. Sticky and chewy foods should also be consumed in moderation.
Be a Role Model
Children imitate their parents. This is true even when it comes to dental hygiene. So, if you want them to be disciplined and to practice the right oral health routine, you should be doing the same. If they can see you doing the things that you are teaching them, then it will be easier to make them follow what you preach.
So, if you are telling kids that a healthy diet is a must-have for healthy teeth, you should lead by example. Every meal should be balanced and must have those that are good for oral health. Avoid snacking on treats with artificial sugar, especially when you are in front of them. How do you expect them to let go of candies when they can see that you always eat them?
More so, being a role model also means that you should show them that you take care of your teeth, such as through regular brushing and flossing. When it is time to brush teeth, consider doing it together with the kids and with fun music playing in the background. This way, they will be more engaged.
Read Books About Dental Health
Reading is an activity that kids enjoy with their parents. It can be boring, but such is the case only when you choose the wrong books. Pick one with colorful and fun characters, and it is surely easier to get the attention of your little ones.
“The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist” is one of the books that should be on your radar. The book documents the trip of Mama, Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear to the dentist. Covering everything from checking cavities to cleaning teeth, this book is a great way to teach kids the crucial dental treatments that they should be having. It will also help minimize their fear of the dentist.
Another great book to consider is “Just Going to the Dentist,” written by Mercer Mayer. It is a funny and heartwarming book. It details the experiences of Little Critter when visiting a dentist, which will also give children an idea of what to expect.
“Sugar Bugs” is also a good book. As the title implies, it shows how sugar is one of the most common culprits for tooth decay and related oral health problems. It has a positive message that will teach its readers the importance of brushing, flossing, and healthy eating.
Make It Fun
A common reason why kids do not engage in good oral health practices is that they find it boring. Toothbrushing, for instance, feels like a chore. So, your goal is to make such activities fun and engaging. For instance, you can play music while brushing and dancing to its tune, which will make it feel like a part of their playtime.
Choosing the right toothbrush is also crucial. Among others, one option worth considering is Colgate Kids Battery-Powered Toothbrush, which is for children three years old and above. It has a colorful design that will catch the attention of its little users. Plus, since it is electric-powered, there is minimal effort required in its use.
You can also play games that will teach kids about dental health. It is hard to go wrong with role-playing, especially before a visit to the dentist. This will give kids the opportunity to have a glimpse of what will happen.
A good dental habit is one thing that every child needs to learn. This can be a manageable task for you as a parent if you try the things covered above, such as going to the dentist early on, being a role model, and reading books that can promote oral health amongst kids.