Parents, what you say and do regarding oral health impacts your children’s teeth, gums and bone structure. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month; learn from your children’s dentists in Scarborough, Dr. Amaro and Dr. Patel, how you can teach oral hygiene. Preventive dental habits will support great smiles for a lifetime.
Show Them How to Do It
Mom and Dad, your kids are watching you. If you brush and floss twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends, you are modeling a very beneficial lifestyle habit.
But additionally, actually show your little ones how you brush with a soft brush and toothpaste, taking your time with each section of your mouth. Rinse well, and demonstrate the right way to floss in between your teeth to remove harmful plaque.
Also, when it’s time for your routine check-up and cleaning with your dentist in Scarborough, talk positively about your upcoming visit. Children pick up on parents’ attitudes toward just about everything. So, avoid words such as “yucky’ or “pain.” Instead, emphasize how Dr. Patel or Dr. Amaro help you keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Be Consistent about Hygiene Routines
That means brush and floss with your children until they have the ability to do it solo. Continue to supervise them through the age of 10 or so to ensure they do the job right.
Sometimes, brushing for a full two minutes is hard for kids. So, set a timer, or look for one of the many phone apps that will ensure they spend the right amount of time. You may use plaque disclosing tablets (over the counter tablets with vegetable coloring) which stain food residues and reveal what areas need more attention.
Make it Fun
Some parents sing songs and make up games to help their children learn their ABCs, numbers and other basics. Why not apply these strategies to flossing and brushing? Show proper technique using a hand puppet, or go on mouthhealthy.org, the consumer website of the American Dental Association. Search for toothbrushing tunes that help kids through their oral hygiene routines.
Of course, rewarding proper behavior helps reinforce it. Would sticker and stars on a weekly brushing chart praise your child for a job well done? Why not give it a try? Use your imagination. As a parent, you know better than anyone else what will motivate your children.
When There are Do’s, There are Don’ts
Yes, there are don’ts with kids’ oral hygiene. Here are some of the most common:
- High sugar diets
- Pacifiers and baby bottles at bedtime (baby bottle tooth decay is a big oral health issue)
- Playing sports without benefit of mouthguards
- Sports drinks and soda pop (push water instead)
- Modeling habits such as smoking
Bring the Children to the Office
Dental care really is a family affair. Your entire household will benefit from the friendly and skilled care Dr. Amaro and Dr. Patel offer. There’s no time like the present to schedule those routine exams and cleanings. Contact White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today for appointments. We have Saturday hours for your convenience.