Children are a reflection of their parents. During the first three years of life, they rely on parents to provide everything for them, and parents play a significant role in providing emotional and physical support. In the end, parents are role models – and it’s no wonder then that children pick up habits from parents. However, this also means that parents have to sit back and evaluate their own personal habits regarding dental hygiene.
Cavities Are Increasing In Children
Not many parents realize the significance of good dental hygiene. Yes, they teach their children good brushing habits and oral hygiene procedures, but that’s not enough. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, these few facts should prove to be a significant revelation.
#1 – More than 48.7% of children in the 5-6 years age groups had a history of baby teeth decay.
#2 – More than 45.1% of children in the 12 years and upper age group had a history of permanent teeth decay.
#3 – Nearly 25% of children in both age groups had untreated cavities that could progress to serious dental problems and tooth loss.
What Can You Do As a Parent To Encourage Good Dental Habits in Your Children?
With so many things to deal with, parents may not realize the different factors that can influence their child’s teeth. Take a look at what can be done to improve your child’s oral hygiene and dental health.
·Start As Soon As Possible:Beginning an effective oral hygiene routine as soon as possible is essential for both parents and their children. Ideally, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recommends prenatal dental education for the mother. The baby’s teeth start developing in the first three months of pregnancy, and dental health education is necessary to ensure that the mother does not take medication that will damage the developing teeth. A comprehensive dental evaluation during every trimester is also necessary for the pregnant mother to rule out gingivitis, loose teeth, and gum problems. This is necessary, as maternal gum problems have been linked to preterm labour.
· Brushing Procedures:New teeth start coming by three to nine months, and a home visit by an experienced dental nurse is necessary to evaluate the new teeth. At this time, parents have to learn good oral hygiene measures to maintain baby teeth. The most common oral hygiene measures include wiping the gums and teeth with a wet clean facecloth. As the infant grows and can handle a toothbrush, the parent can hold the child’s hand and toothbrush and mimic typical brushing procedures. Brushing together every day is also a good idea as children smaller than 8 years of age require supervision to ensure they are doing a good job.
· Diet Control: It is not possible to control everything that your child eats 24/7 but you can do a few important things avoiding sweet, sugary items and carbohydrates,and increasing the amount of dietary fresh fruits, vegetables and fibre.
·Dental Accessories To Encourage Brushing: Children are children and sometimes, they resist good habits just because. As a result, parents have to ensure compliancewithout being aggressive or too dominant. One way to encourage good brushing techniques is by using accessories like:
o Brushing timers with timed music tracks that last for 2-4 minutes are great to encourage brushing. This is an ideal brushing duration and listening to music can encourage toddlers, children and teenagers to brush well.
o Mirrors are also good way to ensure that your child follows the correct brushing technique by watching how they brush.
o Disclosing tablets are a great aid as well. It is not a good idea to use disclosing tablets regularly but they are fine for once a week use. Just dissolve the tablet in water and ask your child to rinse. The solution stains all leftover protein in the mouth red. This will encourage your child to brush better and longer to remove the stains.
o Electric brushes are a great aid as well and fun, funky models with timers are available for teenagers and children. The in-built timer stops after 3 minutes. This means that the child has to brush for the minimal time.
It is your responsibility as parents to make sure that your child has good oral habits, and this is only possible by careful supervision and your dentist’s help. Take your child to the dentist every six months for preventive care. If your child already has cavities, take them every month to ensure that no new problems have cropped up.
Remember, you may explain oral hygiene to your child and he or she may also have learned about good oral hygiene in school but children learn by watching. If you follow all these steps mentioned above and practice them with your child, your child will definitely have good oral hygiene habits and good teeth.