Parents: Here Are 4 Oral Hygiene Tips to Pass On to Kids
Everyone knows kids need to get exercise and bathe regularly, but most parents don’t spend nearly enough time focusing on oral hygiene. Unfortunately, this often leads to problems later in life. Are you ensuring your kids get the healthy start that they need to thrive?
4 Tips to Help Your Kids
Did you know the mouth is the gateway to your body’s health? Not only does a lack of care lead to oral issues like gum disease and cavities, but it’s also closely connected to other health problems throughout the body.
For instance, some studies show that pregnant women with gum disease (Periodontitis) is a risk for delivery of premature labor and low-birth-weight infants. Osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, etc. are all believed to have a link to oral bacteria as well. Tooth decay a also risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The loose bacteria, for some researchers, can travel to one’s lungs and cause respiratory illnesses like pneumonia.
While not all research is conclusive, there’s certainly a strong connection between the mouth and the body. If you want your kids to be as healthy as possible, you should place emphasis on better oral hygiene.
Here are some tips to make this easier:
1. Make Brushing and Flossing Fun
Brushing and flossing are obviously important, but rarely will kids naturally get excited about performing these tasks. Plus, as a parent, you should be doing the brushing until they’re 7-8 years old (or at least helping).
The key is to make brushing and flossing fun. Let your children pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste. Make a game out of seeing who can brush the longest. Put on some music. Do whatever gets your child interested.
2. Encourage Healthy Eating
“Most of us are taught early on that regular brushing and flossing are imperative to keeping our teeth clean and white. However, these two practices are the minimum when it comes to preventing cavities,” Bear-Glasgow Dental explains;“Nutrition and eating habits also play a role in the health of our mouths.”
When it comes to meals and snacking for young children who have developed a full set of teeth, consider feeding crunchy, high-fiber foods like apples, celery, and carrots. Dairy products – like milk, cheese, and yogurt – are also good, as are leafy green veggies, nuts, and seeds.
3. Take Kids to the Dentist Early and Often
Don’t wait until your child is two or three to take them to the dentist for the first time. In fact, you should take them by the time they turn one – or within six months of receiving their first tooth. By starting early and going regularly, they see it as something normal and unintimidating.
4. Quickly Curb Bad Habits
As soon as you notice your child forming a bad habit – such as sucking on his thumb – confront the issue. It’s much easier to deal with something like this right away than to retroactively address it.
Proper Oral Hygiene Starts Early
As you know, habits are hard to kill off. Whether good or bad, people tend to fall back on the habits they learned during childhood. Even as adults, these are the things we cling to. Unfortunately for most Americans, poor oral hygiene was a huge part of our upbringing.
Unless you want your children to suffer through issues you’ve dealt with – like bad breath, missing teeth, cavities, or gum disease – you should stress the importance of taking care of their mouth and teeth. It all starts with you!