6 tips for teaching your kids healthy habitsEat your vegetables. Never skip breakfast. Wash your hands before eating. There are many important habits to teach your children to help lay the foundation for a long and happy life. But one crucial aspect of a child’s overall well-being that often is neglected is their oral health.
“Inadequate teeth brushing habits and poor diet are related to tooth decay in children, according to a number of studies,” says Marsha Butler, Vice President of Oral Care and leader of Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (TM) initiative.
Here are some tips and oral hygiene habits for parents to implement and encourage to ensure your child’s healthy development:
1. Be an example. It’s no secret children learn best by observing. If your children see you brushing and flossing your teeth every morning and evening, they’ll follow your lead. If you brush before they get up or after they go to bed, consider changing your own routine.
2. Check your water. Is the water in your home fluoridated? If not, talk to your dentist about possible supplement options, as toothpastes and some foods may provide the amount you need. Fluoride works with your saliva to protect the precious tooth enamel from both sugars and plaque.
3. Schedule regular checkups. Making regular appointments may be more important than you think. Your pediatric dentist will assist in preventing dental disease and cavities and point out any developmental issues. Get your children acquainted with their dentist early and make sure they know the dentist’s office is nothing to fear.
4. Seek helpful resources. It can be helpful to find a guide for teaching children proper oral hygiene habits. For example, parents and teachers alike can visit ColgateBSBF.com to download free materials and activities specially designed to help educate kids about keeping their smiles bright. You also can try your local Boy Scout troop, where there is a dentistry merit badge course (bsa.org).
5. Introduce flossing early on. Flossing removes food particles and plaque in places where a toothbrush can’t always reach. Beginning at age 4, you should floss for your children. By the time they reach age 8, most kids are able to floss on their own.
6. Encourage a balanced diet. A well-balanced diet is essential for developing strong, decay-resistant teeth, so your children need the full range of vitamins and nutrients. Frequent snacking on sugar or starchy foods such as cookies, candy, pretzels and potato chips combine with plaque on teeth to create acids that attack the teeth enamel and may lead to cavities.
Teach your kids the importance of dental hygiene and they’ll have healthy habits for the rest of their lives.
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