Helping our children to develop good oral hygiene habits is an important goal for parents. However, parents need to remember that proper oral care is a crucial aspect of their own overall health and well-being. Though cosmetic dentistry like getting veneers can be an aspect of adulthood, children need to learn the basics of dental hygiene so they don’t have dental problems later in life. Here are some helpful tips for building a lasting legacy of great dental health for your entire family.
Develop Smart Family Snacking Habits
Perhaps you and your kids like to snack on store-bought treats or homemade goodies during your family game time or movie nights. If so, it’s vital to make smart snacking choices if you want your household to maintain optimal oral health. Instead of choosing sticky sweets such as fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups, or sticky candies for your kids, you and your family can feast on apple slices, bananas, melons and carrot sticks.
Though popcorn is a popular family snack, it should definitely be enjoyed in moderation. The hard popcorn kernels, as well as the shells that surround the kernels, can become lodged in molars as well as between teeth, causing major dental headaches. Sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices should also be consumed less frequently than healthy choices like water and milk. Yogurt is a yummy treat that’s actually good for your teeth. It can be a healthy alternative to ice cream or popsicles. Building healthy snacking habits will take your family a long way toward developing terrific dental health.
Brush and Floss Regularly
Dentists recommend that parents and children alike make sure to brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis. In fact, you and your kids should brush at least twice a day. Brushing after each meal is even more effective for preventing plaque buildup that leads to cavities. You can use a manual toothbrush or a mechanical toothbrush. Make sure that you and your children brush your teeth thoroughly for at least two minutes at each brushing using a soft-bristle brush. Each tooth surface deserves attention. Floss carefully and gently to avoid damaging your gums. Children learn best by example, so modeling good oral hygiene habits in front of your kids can help them to develop the right habits themselves. Brushing and flossing are key elements of any proper oral health regimen.
Rinsing with mouthwash is one way of boosting your family’s oral health that’s often overlooked. Find out which type of mouthwash your dentist recommends. For your children, you’ll want to be sure and purchase a mouthwash that’s designed to safely clean their mouths. Mouthwash can be used each day to help kill more germs and bacteria than brushing alone.
Use Proper Protection for Sports Activities
Perhaps you and your family love engaging in contact sports activities, such as football, hockey, or martial arts. If so, make sure that each member of the family who participates is properly protected with a mouth guard, face mask, or whatever type of protective equipment is appropriate for that sport. If you or another member of your family suffer a sports-related dental injury, make sure to seek emergency dental treatment right away.
Schedule Regular Dental Checkups for All Family Members
One of the main factors involved in maintaining your family’s oral health is scheduling and showing up for regular dental checkups. At these checkups, the oral hygienist will clean your teeth and the dentist will check to see if there are any cavities or other oral health problems that need to be addressed. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the dentist at least every six months starting at around age one. Many dentists recommend that patients continue this same schedule of six-month intervals between checkups on into adulthood. Regular checkups help to prevent cavities and other oral health problems.
If you want to have a family that’s both happy and healthy, remembering good oral hygiene is a crucial step in that direction. By maintaining proper oral health habits like healthy snacking, remembering to brush, floss, and use mouthwash, guarding against dental sports injuries, and going to the dentist regularly, your family could enjoy great dental health for years to come.