by our hygienist, Jenny Bingell, R.D.H.
Are they ready? Did I set a good example?
Parents frequently ask questions about their children’s oral health. It is important that parents understand that they hold the potential fate of their children’s teeth in their hands. The idea of how to instruct your children how to care for their teeth is something that still eludes many new parents. Parents should be brushing their children’s teeth early, even before six months as that first tooth arrives. Making sure that “Baby teeth” are cared for properly is an important step in how to care for our adult permanent teeth. It is vital that we instruct our children with all the aspects of oral care above just brushing their teeth, which is the key to lowering dental disease over a lifetime.
In the beginning, your little person is dependent upon you to do majority of the “dirty work”. Use this time to be an example to your child; they observe your “moves”. Using a small hand held mirror with plenty of lighting, create a fun activity time with your children. Make this time special, sing the ABC’s twice; or count to ten for each quadrant. If your child’s teeth are close and they touch each other, start with flossing at the beginning. There are lots of children’s pre-fab floss holders out there; finding the right color and shape can make flossing something that your children look forward to doing! While using dental products with your children, it is also important that you teach them to rinse and spit rather than swallow. Using care to follow product instructions, teaching your young children how to rinse can be made easier with tips from their dental hygienist.
Now we can start the transition and begin to let your children take over their oral health care. Encourage them to take over brushing and flossing in easy areas as fine motor skills permit.
Be positive, as practice makes perfect; remember to instruct with thoughtfulness. Did your home care include brushing the tongue? Bacteria count can be reduced with this important skill. These are the years that create and instill habits and techniques that will become second nature as they grow. Even adults in all stages of life are perfecting technique.
12 years +:
Being sufficiently solo at proper brushing and flossing will come as time and practice goes on. Be encouraging to children and keep the radar on effective dental hygiene. Remember that we show how much we care by setting examples. Consider brushing and flossing your teeth together… of course, you will perhaps endure this easier than your teenager.
Take Pride in that You are the first teacher for your child. Utilize the services from your hygiene professional. Become a partner with your dental provider who can offer suggestions and tips that can make you more successful. It is our job to share these life enhancing tips. Invest in these tips and give your child a potentially cavity free life!
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