You know the importance of ensuring your family is on the right path when it comes to taking care of their teeth. Being a role model yourself with good oral care habits makes it easier to encourage those good routines within your whole family. We wanted to share a few tips to motivate your family into prioritizing their dental health and keeping their smiles healthy and bright well into the future. Remember, we see children as young as 7 years old, so feel free to bring your little one in for a visit.
- Start Early
Don’t wait until your baby’s teeth arrive to begin good oral hygiene. Start early by gently wiping down their gums with a soft cloth following a feeding. As soon as their first tooth starts to arrive, brush it with an infant soft bristle toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste. Once two teeth start to touch, floss them. Make this part of your routine with your child to encourage them to continue the habits as they get older. Between the ages of 6 and 9, your child can brush on their own. Make sure you schedule their checkup with us as early as age 7, the age when we start seeing children.
- Make Brushing Fun
Brushing first thing in the morning and before bed doesn’t have to be a mundane chore. While playing a two-minute toothbrushing song, have the whole family brushing their teeth at the same time. Purchase fun-colored toothbrushes and make it a routine everyone can enjoy. Select a flavored toothpaste like strawberry or bubblegum for your little ones to inspire them.
- Lead the Way
Children pick up everything they see. So if they witness you prioritizing oral care each day, they will mimic the habit. Make a show of brushing alongside kids in the morning or evening. Floss in front of them while you have a conversation. Occasionally peek in their mouth to check they brushed sufficiently and reinforce rules. Avoid any bad dental habits yourself, like smoking, skipping essential routines, or avoiding dental appointments, which sets the wrong precedent.
- Offer Rewards
Kids need accountability and incentives to stay motivated. Start a sticker chart to track progress. When they have accrued enough stickers, reward them with a small toy or a trip to the park. Praise kids for being thorough with their brushing and flossing. Avoid using scary language, but remind your child of the importance of keeping up with these habits and how they help them avoid cavities.
- Schedule Regular Dental Visits
When the whole family has a semi-annual teeth cleaning appointment marked on the calendar, it reiterates that dental health is a priority in your household. Discuss what happens at the dentist beforehand so the unknown seems less intimidating. However, avoid using words that sound painful and remind your child that it’s all about keeping them healthy.
Fostering a shared commitment to oral wellness from the start means your children will carry forward those same smart habits into adulthood. With everyone onboard, healthy smiles will be prominent at every family get-together! Stay positive in your approach and creating good habits should be rewarding for the whole family.