When you are brushing and flossing your teeth at bedtime, you probably aren’t giving much thought to how habits—both the healthy ones and the unhealthy ones—actually become habits. What is a habit anyway? It is a recurrent pattern of behavior that is usually unconscious that is acquired after frequent repetition. Some say it takes 21 days for something to become a “habit.”
How do you instill good habits in your children, particularly when it comes to good oral care? Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can ensure our kids are taking good care of their teeth now and into adulthood.
Healthy Habits —Teach Your Kids About Good Oral Hygiene Behavior
One of the first ways you can ensure the formation of good healthy habits in your children is to make sure your own habits are in place. When you brush and floss your teeth, do it with your children—and start when they are very young.
As soon as your child’s first teeth erupt, you can use a clean damp washcloth to gently wipe the teeth. When there are more teeth in your child’s mouth, you can help them use a child-sized, soft toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste to brush their own teeth. Most kids need your help until they have the dexterity necessary to brush their own teeth effectively, usually around age six. You can also help them floss, or get them the floss picks designed for their small hands.
Healthy Habits —Teach Your Kids to Check That Their Teeth Are Clean
Rather than having tooth brushing and flossing be a mindless task, teach your children how to check that their own teeth are clean. Explain to them the importance of keeping teeth clean, and why it will be critical for their entire lives. Have them run their tongue over their teeth after brushing so they can feel what clean teeth feel like. Show them that it is good to be gentle and they do not have to press down hard to get rid of bacteria. Explain that gums are delicate and hard brushing might damage the soft tissues.
With consistent good oral health care practice, your children should be set to create healthy habits that last a lifetime. For more information on family dentistry in Edina, contact us at 50th and France Dental Care!