Half of all Americans don’t receive the regular dental care they need to maintain a healthy mouth. In fact, only 61% of Americans ages 18-64 have been to the dentist in the past year. With so many adults neglecting their oral health, it can seem like even more of an uphill battle to instill our children with the habits and sensibility to care for their teeth and gums. If you’re worried about your children’s teeth, here are some great ideas to get them on the right track.
- Start a Routine
General dentistry experts in the American Dental Association recommend that everyone brush their teeth at least twice a day. Most people choose to brush in the morning after they wake up and at night before they go to bed. Your child probably already has bedtime and morning routines — make toothbrushing a part of both.
- Make It Fun
Learning how to care for your teeth doesn’t have to be boring — with a little imagination, you can turn it into an activity your kids actually look forward to. Sing a song or play a game: these will not only make it more fun, but will also ensure your kids brush for the recommended amount of time (two to three minutes). Or you can put stickers on a chart every time your child brushes their teeth, and have a reward for each full week of stickers (preferably not a sweet reward).
- Lead by Example
You are your kids’ hero. They want to do everything that you do. If you show them that knowing how to take care of your teeth and gums is important, then that’s what they’ll want to emulate. Similarly, a good dentist for kids will have a much easier time during checkups and cleanings if you’re keeping up with your regular appointments as well.
Don’t wait for your child’s adult teeth to start coming in before attempting to instill good oral care habits — begin as soon as they can hold a toothbrush. The earlier you start, the healthier your kids’ mouths will be for the rest of their lives. And teaching them to care for their own mouths will help you know how to care for your teeth too. Everybody wins. Find out more about this topic here.