From the moment your child greets the world, your parental responsibilities start. You're responsible for feeding her, putting her to sleep, bathing her, clothing her, and making sure she's healthy and safe. When you see her first tiny tooth sprouting from her gums, it can be exciting and sometimes scary, especially if she gets feverish. Your child’s first tooth is a milestone! In all the excitement, though, you should never forget that another responsibility is added to your list - you are now the official brusher of your little one's pearly white teeth.
As a parent, you should teach your children good oral health habits right from the start. Making regular brushing and flossing a part of their lives as early as possible is essential. But until your kids are able to brush and floss on their own, which is about the time they reach the age of seven or eight, you will have to help them do it properly.
Most parents tend to overlook flossing, which is one important part of dental health. While it is true that brushing is the main way you can fight bacteria and cavities, flossing can dislodge food stuck between teeth and plaque that has developed in hard to reach areas. You see, when you don't get food and bacterial plaque from between your teeth, it can lead to tooth decay, halitosis, and gum disease. All of these oral health problems can be prevented by practicing healthy dental habits starting from when your child is a toddler.
Here are some tips that you can use to help your child learn about effective dental care:
* Stand with your child while brushing and flossing your own teeth so that you can demonstrate how these tasks are done.
* To make the routine more fun, sing a "brushing song" or download a timer app to help teach your child how long she should brush her teeth for.
* Supervise your child's brushing and flossing ritual until she's seven or eight years old
* Make your child use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head when all her teeth appear.
* Teach her to concentrate on one area at a time when she’s brushing.
* Your little one might want to brush your teeth. Let her! Just make sure that you use your own toothbrush as bacteria can be transferred from your mouth to your child's!
* There may be a stage in your child's life when brushing becomes a chore. When the above tips no longer work, you can establish a reward system. For instance, you can have a "brush scoreboard" where you put stickers every time your child brushes her teeth. And once she collects 10 or 20 stickers, she receives a reward!
* Introduce your child to your dentist at Preston Dental as early as you can! It helps ease anxiety if she recognizes her dentist and identifies them as a friend. Raise your child understanding that dentists are "good friends". It won't help if you use the idea of taking her to the dentist as a threat or punishment.
Brushing teeth doesn't have to be a task for your child. Encouraging your child to build good oral habits shouldn't be a chore for you either. A little imagination and creativity can turn brushing into one of those activities both you and your child look forward to!
If you want other helpful tips on how you can establish a good dental routine with your child, don't hesitate to ask your trusted dentists at Preston Dental Centre!