Healthy teeth are a result of good oral habits.
How can you make sure kids follow them? Following good oral health practices from a young age helps to establish lifelong patterns. Make oral care fun for the kids so that they can get into the habit of taking care of their teeth – especially if they have (or will eventually have) braces.
Here are 4 ways to help your kids practice good oral habits.
Teach them About Tooth-Friendly Foods
Foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and cheese are good for teeth (especially with braces) – unlike candy, cookies, caramel or chips. But kids may not be too happy about eliminating the latter from their diet.
If your child has braces, help them understand why they have to make that change for only a few months. Explain that avoiding some foods for a relatively short period of time will benefit them and help them have healthy teeth in the long-run.
Include your kids when you shop for groceries, fruits and vegetables. Ask them to lend a hand when you prepare healthy snacks. When they are a part of the process, they won’t be as fussy about eating foods from the ‘To-Eat’ list.
Use a Mouthguard During Contact Sports
Dental braces may put some restrictions on your kid’s diet, but not on their playtime. Ensure your kid puts on a mouthguard every time they play, especially during contact sports.
A mouthguard protects braces as well as the teeth, gums, and jaw. Bring your child to the dentist so that they can understand different mouthguard options they can use. Let them have a say in which mouthguard they want to get, as they will be more receptive to using something they chose.
Make a Habit of Brushing and Flossing
Assist your child in brushing and flossing their teeth if they are young. Help them develop the routine until they get used to it. Make sure they brush and floss twice a day.
Let your child choose their toothbrush, favorite-flavored toothpaste, and floss. They will be more likely to brush on their own when they choose oral health care products for themselves.
Have your kids brush to their favorite song. You can also play ‘Brushing songs’ that are common in kids’ shows or online videos. Reward them if they brush regularly. The reward can be a new toy, a trip to the park, new coloring books, etc.
Regular Dental Checkups
The thought of going to the dentist can be dreadful, especially for little kids. But they still need to visit. Children as young as 7-years-old must go to a dentist regularly.
Look for a dentist who specializes treating kids. Make a dental ‘report card’ that tracks the days your child brushed and flossed. Encourage them to show this report to the dentist. This will help them feel confident when they sit in the dentist chair.
If your orthodontist suggests orthodontic services like braces to fix misaligned teeth, overbite or underbite, go ahead with the treatment to make sure your kid has straighter and healthier teeth.
Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and an Ivy League trained dentist who has and has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Rome Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with this family.
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