Kids can learn in a number of different ways. If you want your kids to learn about good oral hygiene you can give them information to read or listen to from experts on the topic. You can also ask their dentist to emphasize the important of good oral hygiene during appointments. But, as a parent, the most effective way you can teach your kids about good oral hygiene is by modeling it for them. Your kids will see your actions in relation to oral hygiene and (hopefully) learn some good habits.
Talk about how the foods you eat impact your teeth
As an adult, you know that there are certain foods and substances that can have a negative impact on your teeth. Some foods make decay more likely while others can damage enamel when consumed in excess. And, there are foods that can provide important nutrients for teeth. Talk about these things around your kids. If you are having a piece of candy, mention the fact that you will brush extra well before bed to get rid of the sugar on your teeth. When you pile veggies on you plate point out how vitamin-rich foods are good for the health of your teeth. Making these connections between diet and oral health is a way to model good food choices to your kids.
Enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids
Every family has those nights or mornings when everyone is exhausted and it is tempting to skip the routine of brushing and flossing in favor of heading straight to bed or out the door. This is especially tempting when kids are in a stage where they fuss about having to brush and floss. These difficult nights give you the opportunity to model the true importance of consistent oral care. If you enforce the routine of brushing and flossing for your kids – even on the tough nights or mornings – it can help them develop the habit of proper oral care in all situations.
Let your kids see you brush and floss
In order to model good oral hygiene to your kids you need to let them see you brush and floss from time to time. It is not practical to make this happen every evening when you go to bed later than the kids. But you can likely make it happen from time to time. There is a time during childhood when kids want to do everything like the adults in their lives – take advantage of that when it comes to proper oral care! Let your kids see your process, share your toothpaste, or get matching toothbrushes. Little things like this can model good oral hygiene to your kids.
Make the dentist a family affair
Going to the dentist regularly is an important part of proper oral care. You can share this fact with your kids by making the dentist a family affair. Find a dentist who can provide care to your whole family. You can schedule appointments in such a way that your kids see you making them a priority in your own life.
It takes time for a habit to really become established for a child. Modeling good oral hygiene is something you will need to do for several years for the habits to stick for your children. It is not a complicated process but it does require consistency.