We often fail to consider the full importance of our children’s teeth in their overall health. During early development, it ensures that they can begin eating foods that will provide the nutrients they require to grow strong and healthy. As they age, it can impact their social relationships and self-esteem while continuing to play a critical role in their general health. Ensuring they can retain their smile for a lifetime requires that we begin teaching them proper dental hygiene early in life. This helps to establish these habits at a time when they are able to be engrained for a lifetime. Proper dental hygiene helps avoid gum disease, discoloration, and tooth decay that can result in expensive endodontic care or tooth extraction.
Steps To Establish These Habits In Your Children
When it comes to teaching your children important habits, there’s one element that often remains overlooked. That element is the importance of ensuring your children have and feel like they have agency in their decisions. Agency is the impression of having power over their own lives and what happens to them during it. It’s a common mistake for parents to attempt to enforce their will without truly involving the child in the process. This results in a feeling of resentment and can often make the desired result backfire as negative connotations are associated with certain practices. Empowering your child can ensure they are happy and engaged with learning dental hygiene and can embrace it as a positive experience.
- Get Their Opinions On Products – Many parents try to get products they think their child will enjoy. While this is well-intentioned, bringing them with you would be far better. Let them pick out their own toothbrush, select a flavor of toothpaste, and decide on their preferred way of using dental floss. These decisions help them feel like part of the process rather than that something is being done to them.
- In Their Own Time – Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to the dentist is essential in keeping up good dental health. You can involve your younger family members in this process by letting them select when they go to their visit. This often works best with the parent selecting a range of dates and times near the time the child comes due for another visit. They then let the child choose from these preselected time frames.
- Do It Together – There’s little as important for building great family memories than time spent together. By joining them in their brushing practices, you can add dental hygiene to this time. This allows you to ensure they’re doing it properly, as well as sharing this time with them in a positive way.
Working with your children demonstrates respect for their agency as human beings. While you’ll still be guiding them towards the habits you want them to develop, you’ll be doing so while keeping them active in the process. Studies have shown that this produces far better results than more forceful methods of teaching children positive habits.
Speak To Your Dentist For Further Tips
Your dentist has been around and seen a lot of different types and ages of children. They’re sure to have developed a repertoire of habits and practices that have worked with stubborn children. They’re there for you to reach out to when you need guidance establishing good dental hygiene practices in your children, so schedule a visit today!