If you’re like many parents these days, you understand just how difficult it can be to get your kids to properly care for their teeth. For most parents, it’s hard enough to get children excited about brushing and flossing when they’re younger. As they get older, however, it can become a daily battle to monitor their dental habits. When you also consider that those kids are at school for a good part of their day, it becomes easy to see exactly why so many parents feel helpless when it comes to protecting their children’s teeth. Well, fear not! There are some simple steps you can take to help your kids develop better dental habits.
Good dental habits begin at home, so focus most of your attention there. Start by selecting meal options that are healthy for both the body and the mouth. Good nutrition should center on whole foods whenever possible, to ensure that everyone in the family receives the macro and micronutrients needed for optimal health. That includes lean protein sources, dairy, whole grain foods, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Every single one of those whole food options contains less sugar than those pre-prepared foods children and teens tend to gravitate towards when their parents aren’t around.
If your child is taking a lunch to school, adopt that whole food strategy there as well. Instead of cookies or other sweet snacks, pack fresh fruit, cheese, or a milk carton. String cheese is a favorite option for most kids, and a healthy way to work dairy into even a sack lunch.
Be aware of the foods you are buying at the grocery store. Many kids are grazers by nature, and will tend to eat almost anything they can carry with them as they adventure throughout the day. That makes options like potato chips, candy, and sugary beverages a real threat to their health and their teeth. If you keep fresh fruit on hand at all times, your kids will graze on that instead!
Develop a set schedule for brushing at night, and include flossing in the regimen. If you’re one of those parents who finds it difficult to trust your child to brush and floss regularly and properly, then consider making it a family routine where you brush at the same time. This works especially well with smaller children who already have a tendency to imitate what they see their parents do.
Teach your children the value of regular dental appointments at a young age. That will help to educate them about the importance of regular checkups and care, and help them to develop a level of comfort in the dentist’s office that will ensure that they seek the care they need throughout their lives.
At Ebenezer Dental, we know how kids can be when it comes to their teeth. Brushing and flossing always seem to be the last thing they want to do each day – and understandably so! After all, childhood is an adventure! At the same, however, we adults understand how critical it is that kids develop sound dental habits so that they can maintain healthy teeth that last a lifetime. As your local dentist in Midtown Manhattan, we can help your child learn to develop those habits, even as we provide the regular care he or she needs. Give us a call today to find out how!