Cavities and tooth decay are a common occurrence among young teeth. Whether it is because of their minimal dexterity when it comes to brushing and flossing or their unwillingness to engage in any sort of oral hygiene practice, growing smiles need consistency and encouragement to remain in optimal shape. During National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, dentists throughout the country will be raising awareness about the importance of good oral habits starting at an early age. If you are struggling to put your child on the right path to healthier teeth and gums, read on to discover three things you can do to get them excited about oral hygiene.
Practice Good Oral Habits Together
Your child watches your every move. Whether or not they follow is dependent upon the child, but if you want to encourage them to “do as I do,” don’t just sit back and observe their practices. Instead, make brushing, flossing, and rinsing a family affair. By showing them the importance you place on your own oral hygiene, they, too, will want to do the same. You can even try turning on some music or playing a game. No matter what you try, make sure your child sees you taking care of your smile. It might just inspire them to want to be more like mom or dad!
Try Different Flossing Products
Flossing isn’t easy for kids. In fact, a lot of adults have a difficult time with it, too. Fortunately, there are products available that are kid-friendly and make it a much easier task. If traditional dental floss isn’t doing the trick, consider buying a water irrigator (i.e., Waterpik) or “C-shaped” flossers known as GumChucks. Not only will your child find them more fun to use, but you can rest easier knowing their soft oral tissues are thoroughly clean and free of bad bacteria and debris.
Consider Swapping a Manual Brush for an Electric One
If your child has been using a manual toothbrush for a few years now, it may be time to make the switch to an electric one. Children often place too much pressure on their teeth, causing bristles to fray and additional damage to their gums. Not to mention, it’s highly unlikely they are brushing for a full two minutes (unless you have them use a timer). Designed to make brushing easier, most electric versions come with a timer included, so it’s easier for your little one to know when it’s time to spit and rinse. Also, some versions come with the ability to connect to a smartphone, allowing you to observe your child’s brushing habits and help them hone their skills to ensure optimal oral health.
Whether it’s newer technology, kid-friendly flossers, or simply practicing good oral habits each morning and night as a family, these tips will have you and your child happier about the future of their smile.
About the Authors
Dr. John Hagerty completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan Dental School. After graduating, he served in the United States Navy as a Lt. Commander and dentist for four years. Moving to Lansing after his time in the service, he opened his practice and has been helping the residents of Lansing for more than 25 years. As a children’s dentist, Dr. Hagerty and his team strive to encourage patients of all ages to pursue better oral health. As part of National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, he is helping parents and children understand the importance of establishing good dental habits at an early age. If you want to help your child feel more confident in their smile, visit our website or call (517) 886-9696.