Perhaps the most important part of a parent’s job is to teach children effective, healthy habits that will last a lifetime. While parents often have a great deal of control over very young children’s diets and dental routines, children will gain more independence as they get older. If they are taught basic oral hygiene skills and why it is important, it is hoped that they will continue to follow a healthy regimen even without parents looking over their shoulders.

One of the most basic skills any child should know is how to brush their teeth. Equally important, children should understand why this process is important. The effects of inadequate brushing can take years to show, so children don’t always understand why they need to brush their teeth every night and morning.

To encourage this important habit, you can try making it into a game. Have your child “follow” a certain figure around their mouth to make sure the mouth is cleaned completely. Your child might enjoy chasing down plaque “bugs,” or tracking down a character he loves from books or movies. Small rewards can help, too; Receiving stickers to place on the chart is a popular incentive.

To help your child understand why this not-so-fun process is necessary, you can choose one of a variety of videos and books for kids that illustrate this concept. You may also want to show your child pictures of tooth decay that are not too graphic to show what could be going on. A good dentist will also be able to explain the importance of this habit, and explain how to do it correctly.

Of course, brushing your teeth is not the only aspect of dental health. A good diet can also contribute to stronger teeth in addition to general physical health. In general, children who have been taught to eat healthy from a young age will find it easier to do so as adults.

For example, try using healthy foods as treats and rewards, rather than sugary snacks. This can help teach children to enjoy fruits and vegetables, rather than seeing them as something dreary that their parents force them to eat. Keeping glucose and caffeine to a minimum can significantly reduce the risk of cavities forming in a child, and may also contribute to better behaviour.

Teaching a child good habits is not easy. Many parents have to try a variety of tips and techniques before they find something that works. The important thing is not to get too discouraged and stay focused on the children’s health.

For more oral health advice for children, call chicago family dentist Dr.. Bajay.


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