• February 26, 2018
healthy dental habits for kids
Photo of happy girls with handsome lads in front smiling at camera

Encouraging good habits is an important part of any complete health routine. The sooner you start, the better. But it’s never too late to try to teach your kids about the importance of good dental hygiene.

At Shorewood Family Dental Care (a Joliet IL dentist) we’re a family-oriented dental practice run by a team that is passionate about helping patients of all ages take good care of their teeth.

We recommend you see us twice a year for checkups and dental cleanings. We’re more than happy to do everything we can to encourage you to make the right choices when it comes to your teeth, but once you leave our office it’s entirely up to you.

As a parent, you’re one of your child’s best defenses against tooth decay and gum disease. Are you doing what it takes to encourage healthy dental habits for your kids?

Create Healthy Dental Habits Early & Stay Consistent

If you’re truly passionate about making sure your family takes good care of their teeth and maintains good oral health, it’s important to start early and stay consistent.

You should bring your child in for their first dental appointment when they get their first tooth or when they turn one, whichever comes first. That’s what the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends, so that’s what we suggest for all our parents of infants!

But don’t wait until you bring your little one in for their first dental appointment to start taking care of their teeth. Before your baby even has a tooth, you can clean their gums with a clean cloth or gauze pad to remove food residue or milk that may be lingering there. Doing so will also help your little one get used to the feeling of cleaning their mouth.

Have Fun With It!

One thing we like to remind parents who are trying to instill good habits is to have fun with it and try not to put too much pressure on your kids. You can start by letting your child pick out their own toothbrush. They will get excited when it comes time to reach for their cool brush!

Another helpful tip is to sing or play a song associated with brushing their teeth. This also helps to make sure they’re brushing their teeth for the recommended two minutes each time.

This is also a great tip when it comes to helping your child become more comfortable with going to the dentist. “Play” dentist in your home or read books about going to the dentist. Always talk about going to the dentist in a fun and positive way so they associate our office with a fun, positive place!

Practice What You Preach

If you haven’t already learned this as a parent, you will very soon. You are the ultimate role model for your young child. They will want to do and be everything you do and are. That includes that habits you practice every day.

Go ahead and brush your teeth when your child does. You can hum or dance to entertain them while you both brush your teeth. Tell them to mimic your actions and show them the proper way to brush all of their teeth. You can even take funny pictures together while brushing your teeth.

Of course, being a good role model also applies to visiting the dentist. Show them there is nothing to be afraid of and the dentist is a good place to be! Serve as a positive example during a dental cleaning.

They’re constantly watching you so make sure you’re setting a good example!

Healthy Dental Habits With A Well-Balanced Diet

Perhaps one of the most important suggestions we can make when discussing how to encourage healthy dental habits is to promote a well-balanced diet. Keep healthy snacks on hand for your little ones to munch on, limit their consumption of sugary snacks and drinks, and serve well-balanced meals.

The healthier your child is overall, the less likely they are to experience complex health issues. A well-balanced diet full of proper nutrients gives your child a better chance of growing up healthy without any problems.

To learn more about how to encourage healthy dental habits, call Shorewood Family Dental Care at 815-725-5991. You can also contact us online to request an appointment. We’re here whenever you need us!