While it’s important to get your child’s teeth checked by a dentist at least twice a year, it’s even more important that you’re teaching your child proper dental hygiene at home. These habits will stay with them for a lifetime and can prevent further health problems, like gum disease, as well as heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes. By taking just a few extra steps each day, you can ensure that your child has proper dental care.
Lead by Example
Your child begins watching you from the time they are born. If you want your child to practice good habits, you should practice good habits. Children often mimic their parents. They repeat phrases they hear, try foods and beverages they see their parents eat and drink, or mimic behaviors. If you want your kids to begin flossing and brushing, show them that you do that each day.
Set Up Routines
When we create habits, they become second nature. We don’t have to remind ourselves to do them or even think about them, because our brains know to do them. If we set up routines with our children, they will grow accustomed to this as well. They will know that the first thing we do in the morning after we eat our breakfast is to brush our teeth, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. In fact, they will become so routine, that when they fail to do them, something won’t feel right. It will be as if they are missing something.
Do it Together
If you’re having a hard time remembering to teach your little ones about proper dental care then participate as a family. When you wake up in the morning, everyone can go into the bathroom, share toothpaste, and then, brush their teeth for two minutes. Once more, as part of the bedtime routine, everyone gathers in the bathroom again to brush their teeth. You would essentially capture all three goals of leading by example, setting up routines, and doing things together.
Last but certainly not least, be consistent day in and day out. Especially on those days, when you feel too tired before bed or it feels like too much work to gather everyone together, that is the most important time to follow the routine and follow through. If your kids see that you prioritize your dental care and that you never take a day off from it, they will follow suit.
Keep making your dental appointments for yourself and your children. Find a pediatric dentist that makes dentistry and dental care smooth and relaxing to your kids. First and foremost, though, practice good dental habits at home. Teach your children proper dental care through example, daily and nightly routines, doing it together as a family, as well as being consistent. These items will surely establish a life-long pattern of healthy dental hygiene.