How To Build Good Dental Habits In Kids
Photo by Maria Lysenko on Unsplash
Building good dental habits like brushing teeth is a monotonous but extremely important activity of our day, as well as for kids once they start teething. Usually, kids try to escape this time because they do not understand the importance of oral health habits, and of course, this is something that does not fascinate them, rather they have other stuff waiting that interests them more. Isn’t it??
I used to get mad at my daughter, until one day when I realized there is no use pushing her to do it unless she herself does not cooperate. Because, even if I enforce it, the daily brushing won’t be effective unless she does it with her whole wish and cooperation.
It’s not just about regular brushing, for anything which you want them to do, rather than pushing/ enforcing them to do it, help them feel motivated so that they themselves feel the need and develop a habit. Although there is no fixed strategy that would work with all kids, however, I believe some of the techniques listed below should help.
- Make stories– Yeah, stories are not always the bedtime ones, you can motivate them with some incidents/ stories that help them realize the reason why you are asking them to do something. Children are intelligent and they remember things for times longer than we do.
- Tell them why dirty is not good –It is always good to teach good oral hygiene habits to kids. Tell them about the daily routine to build healthy teeth and how important it is to remove the decayed teeth.
- Do it in a playful manner– Try to break the monotony, bring some different color toothbrushes, and toothpaste, and make a separate space for storing the stuff for the child. The idea is to make them feel special in some way that they themselves feel motivated to brush teeth and maintain oral habits. Once they practice something over a few days, it’ll become a habit.
- Negative motivation –Negative motivation makes wonders! Try to tell a kid they won’t be able to do a thing and witness the magic. They would struggle to do it and prove that they are capable. Everyone loves praises and so the kids do.
- Keep alternatives– On some days, you might end up trying anything and everything but the child is still not ready to cooperate with you. For those days, keep a good mouthwash and the kid will certainly agree to try it out because that is something new and kids love exploring. For sure, keep the consistency lighter because kids might not love the new taste in the beginning, so add a little more water.
Some simple tips to prevent toothache in children
- Encourage them to develop healthy habits by providing healthy snacks like fruits. Sticky foods should be avoided.
- Limit sugary foods and have them rinse their mouth after consuming something rich in sugar/ starch
- Brushing twice a day and flossing is a daily dental routine that must be followed to avoids plaque buildup
Consequences of children not brushing their teeth properly
Now, coming up to the consequences when a child does not brush his/ her teeth properly. This is not to panic anybody reading but it is essential for us as parents to know and understand what makes it extremely important for kids that they brush their teeth daily at least once, twice is always better. Sometimes, this might also occur in case of excessive feeding during the night time because they tend to sleep while feeding and the leftover milk causes decay.
- Development of dental caries –Children are susceptible to caries as soon as the first teeth appear.
- Tooth decay – Baby tooth decay needs to be treated even if it has occurred in a milk tooth because it results in excessive pain and irritation. Also, the doctors say permanent tooth builds up within the frame of the milk teeth. Hence, milk teeth need to be preserved until permanent teeth are developed.
- In case of severe dental decay, pedodontists might suggest clinical treatments like root canal. Let’s aim to prevent such situations by displaying proactiveness.
It is always better to help children develop good dental hygiene habits from a tender age. If you notice any symptoms or any risk of tooth decay, cavity, caries development, try to get an appointment for dental checkups with a pedodontist, or dentist and get a filling done.
Mommies cool down, kids filling procedure is not a painful one. Pediatric Dentists have specialized hand tools that are painless. Be proactive in reaching the dentist because the sooner it is treated, the easier the treatment would be.
If at all you feel the need to visit a dentist for the child, here are some tips/ tricks before you plan the visit. This would help you and the child get ready for treatment
- Plan a demo clinical session at your home. You play the dentist role and your child would be your patient. In that way, once you are there at the clinic, the child will be familiar enough to perform an action replay. Sounds funny, but it does help. J
- Lie down on the doctor’s chair and hold the child on your lap when the doctor is investigating. Children feel safest when they are with their Mom/ Dad.
- Choose a doctor who is patient enough and able to get along with child tantrums.
- Fascinate them with any surprises you have planned once they finish the treatment.
- Again, do not force or scare them. They might grow up with this fear and show reluctance towards dental treatments for the rest of their lives.
You might probably want to try some home remedies/ cures for children before taking them to the doctor or in case of emergencies but there is a need to be cautious. Whatever you use, be it clove oil, warm salt water, etc., be careful about the concentration. Kids would require it in minimal amounts and since these stuff are acidic in nature, they might lead to further complexities.
Hope the blog is useful. Welcoming your valuable experiences and suggestions, it will help make this discussion a fruitful one.
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