Want your child to smile confidently? Then teach them the basics of oral care. Remember, they’re never too young to learn how to take care of their teeth.
And besides, they too can suffer from tooth decay or gum disease, despite their tender age. Which brings us to an important question: What exactly do you teach your children? Here’s a list.
1. Why Brush Teeth
Before doing anything else, explain to the kids why they should brush their teeth in the first place. Teach them that brushing removes plaque, which causes tooth decay if left unchecked.
The decay, in turn, results in pain and even tooth extraction. And without the tooth, their ability to learn how to chew, smile, or talk well reduces.
Their ability to smile confidently also takes a beating. What’s more, another tooth moves into the gap left by the extracted one, leaving less space for adult teeth.
2. Why Floss
As you explain to your kids why they should brush teeth, also discuss flossing. Let the kids know that bits of sticky food and candy often gets stuck in the spaces between the teeth. And no amount of brushing can get the stuck particles out. Only dental floss can.
3. How to Brush Teeth
Don’t explain to children how to brush teeth. Show them instead. Together, hold a toothbrush at an angle of about 45 degrees. Then gently brush the tops, fronts, and backs of the teeth.
Pay particular attention to the backs of the front upper and lower teeth. For it’s here that plaque accumulates first and fastest. But steer clear of the gum to avoid irritating it.
4. How to Floss
Unlike brushing, which children learn by age seven, flossing takes up to 10 years to learn. But all the same, teach it to your kids. And the earlier you do so, the better.
For older children, cut a foot-long piece of dental floss. Loop its ends into circles. And knot the circles into place.
Next, have your child put their fingers into the circles. Now show them how to move the floss up and down between the teeth. And as they move to a new tooth, advise them to use a fresh segment of the floss.
For younger children, on the other hand, opt for floss picks. They have a pre-secured brand of floss for easier cleaning and a handle-like protrusion for easier grip.
5. How Many Times to Brush and Floss
Get your children to brush and floss their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. And be consistent. With time, they’ll accept oral care as part of their daily routine.
6. Why Use Fluoridated Toothpaste
When children reach the age of two, the gaps in their teeth start closing. And by the age of four, the teeth have already made contact. During this period, food particles start getting lodged in between the teeth.
For this reason, include fluoridated toothpaste in their brushing routine for more effective cleaning. However, use only a pea-sized amount.
And don’t forget to tell the kids why it’s suddenly necessary. The fluoride it contains strengthens teeth and keeps tooth decay at bay.
7. How Diet Affects Teeth
You cannot control what your kids snack on or eat when they’re at school. Yet their diet affects their oral health. So warn them of the dangers of eating too many sugary foods like candy.
Also, praise the benefits of fruits and vegetables. And then encourage them to drink lots of water and milk. While the water cleans out their mouths, the milk dilutes the acids produced by oral bacteria.
8. Why Visit a Dentist
End the lesson on oral care by discussing the benefits of a regular checkup. Cavities and gum diseases are discovered early and either fixed or treated before they cause further damage.
Also, discuss the benefits of professional teeth whitening. Even without cavities or gum disease, the kids may end up having discolored teeth mainly due to a poor diet or too much plaque. The procedure simply gives them back their bright smiles.
Children are never too young to learn about or experience the benefits of good oral health. So get out the toothbrushes and floss. And with patience, you’ll have them brushing and flossing their teeth in no time.