You can’t spend your whole day reminding your family to take care of their teeth. Besides, they will soon be adults of their own. What they need are good dental habits.
One of those is to get regular dental cleanings and dental exams. Call our Phoenix, AZ dental office today at 602-842-6504 to make family dentistry appointments for anyone in your family. Then read below for how to build healthy dental habits in your family.
Instilling Those Good Dental Habits
1. Schedule your dental appointment along with your children’s.
Going to the dentist can be scary to a child, even older ones. Between strangers, weird noises, and not knowing what treatments will happen, it can be unnerving. That’s why you should schedule your dental cleanings and dental exams to coincide with ones set for your kids. Not only can you put them at ease, you are showing how important these dental visits are. That could set the stage for a lifetime of good dental habits.
Plus, going with your kids can help you remember to take care of your own teeth. After all, this is about building habits for the family, and that includes you.
2. Make sure your kids see you brushing and flossing sometimes.
As your children grow up, they struggle to figure out how to act like an adult. Kids often do what they see the grown-ups doing. However, the opposite is true. If your kids never see you brush and floss, they’ll assume that’s not what adults do. They’ll learn to skip cleaning their teeth.
By letting your kids see you doing what they are told to be doing, you’re increasing the chances that they’ll brush and floss as well. When this happens enough times, it becomes a habit they could carry with them for the rest of their lives.
3. Keep diet soda and fruit juice as occasional treats.
Juice is healthy, right? And diet soda has no sugar, so even though it’s not healthy, it’s not bad for you. Unfortunately, that not quite true.
Fruit juice has vitamins, but it also has a ton of sugar. When your children drink juice, they coat their teeth and gums in the very stuff bacteria love to eat. That raises their risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Diet soda has no sugar, but it’s very acidic. These acids slowly erode your family’s enamel and weaken their teeth. Treat fruit juice and diet soda like candy — it’s fine on occasion, but it cannot become a regular thing. Do this long enough, and your family can get into the habit of drinking something healthier.
4. Let your children pick out their own toothbrushes.
Children spend most of their lives being told what to do. That’s normal. They don’t have the knowledge or discipline to make good decisions. But you can take advantage of this fact to build brushing into a habit.
When it’s time to get a new toothbrush, bring your kids to the store. Let them pick out a toothbrush they like. Giving them a little bit of control like this can be very significant to kids. It won’t suddenly turn them into the best kids ever, but it will increase the chances that they’ll brush without being told every day.
5. Drink water by default.
Fruit juice and diet soda, two common drinks, need to be limited. Now what? Make water the drink of choice in your family’s home.
Water helps in several ways. First, it washes away food particles in your mouth that would end up feeding harmful bacteria. It also washes away acids that build up on teeth and gums. Staying hydrated also lets your saliva do all of that too.
When someone is thirsty, don’t always ask what they want to drink. Instead, assume they want water and give them some. Keep doing that until everyone starts drinking water as by default. This habit is not just good for your family’s teeth, it’s good for their bodies as well.
6. If you smoke or chew, give up tobacco.
Kids are very observant. They know more about what you do than you realize. If you smoke or chew tobacco, even if you hide this from your children, they will likely know. It’s not always easy to get rid of tobacco juice or the smell of smoke on your clothes.
Tobacco is horrible for your teeth and gums. It stains your teeth yellow, dries your mouth out, and leads to oral cancer. You can help give your kids a dental health habit by giving up tobacco now. That way, your kids will see you really mean it when you tell them not to smoke or chew.