It is important to start practicing good dental hygiene habits with your children from an early age because tooth health is crucial, even with baby teeth. Brushing and avoiding foods that are hard on teeth might be an oversight for children, but this article explains little things you can do as parents to get them in a good routine.
Yes, your childs baby teeth will fall out, but that doesnt mean
theyre less important. These little chompers help kids chew food, speak
clearly, and hold space so permanent teeth can grow in straight.
Unfortunately, tooth decay is one of the most common childhood health
problems for kids in the United States. Tooth decay is not only
painful, it can also lead to other problems, such as ear and sinus
infections, difficulty speaking, and a lack of concentration. Kids with
dental problems are also more likely to miss school and fall behind in
The good news is that you can help prevent cavities by encouraging
your child to develop good dental habits. Here are some suggessions:
1. Take Family Time Outdoors
Although family movie night is a fun and enjoyable way to spend time
together, getting in the habit of taking family time outdoors decreases
the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke, per the federal Lets
Move! initiative. Adults actually need 30 minutes of exercise a day,
whereas kids should receive 60 minutes of time to stay active. You can
model exercise and physical activity for your kids by finding a fun
activity everyone can enjoy. Whether its a family hike or a backyard
game of baseball, youll be modeling a healthy lifestyle that has a
lasting effect on their oral health.
2. Keep a Stash of Healthy Snacks for Long Days of Driving
Most parents know to bring extra snacks for their kids on days when
theyre out for longer periods. But instead of choosing a candy bar for
yourself, pack a personal snack thats as healthy as your kids lunches.
Its important for your kids to see you reach for something healthy
during the afternoon slump time or on a long day of errands and driving.
Keep a stash of nuts and fruit with you in your car or on the go;
natural sugars and protein will also sustain you over a longer period so
you can stay focused when your youngest gives you a hard time.
3. Make the Switch From Coffee to Green Tea
It might be hard to get in the habit of drinking green tea over
coffee, but the benefits are great. Starting your day with caffeine can
set you up for a caffeine crash, and youre more likely to turn to sugar
for that much-needed boost when it hits increasing your risk of tooth
decay. Choosing green tea instead can give you just enough caffeine
without staining your teeth like coffee, one of the top tooth-staining
offenders. Green tea can also decrease the risk of dental decay offering
you improved dental health benefits, according to Care2. Modeling this
habit for your kids shows that you care about your smile just as much as
your dentist does.
4.MaintainGreat Oral Care on Vacation
Its OK to enjoy a more relaxed schedule on vacation, but that
doesnt mean your oral care should take a back seat. Vacation time with
your kids is an opportunity to demonstrate a continued routine of
healthy habits, like daily flossing the correct way and brushing at
least twice a day for two minutes and rinsing after a big dinner. Paying
attention to your oral care on vacation teaches your kids that some
routines can be maintained without giving up a good time.
5.KeepRegular Dental Visits
One of the most enduring habits you can model for your kids is to
maintain great oral care with regular visits to your dentist. If you
can, line your appointment up with those of your children. Making your
dental care a priority shows them that your own oral care is important
and a priority.
Making and keeping habits takes time, and that time can vary for each
person. Committing to these 5 healthy habits and calling attention to
them when youre with your kids will help light the way to great oral
care into adulthood.
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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this post are the author’s.