For better or worse, it’s been proven that lifelong dental care habits are formed in the home during childhood. That means overall oral health is likely to follow that same pattern—sometimes long after permanent teeth have grown in.
As adults, we might view daily dental care as less important than professional dental services. While that might be true for cosmetic dentistry, we know that the best offense is a great defense for general oral health! That’s because gum health supports healthy teeth during every stage of life, and gum health depends on regular cleaning.
Plus, daily dental care reinforces self-sufficiency as well as basic hygiene, and supports other healthy routines at the same time. These carry over into adolescence and adulthood—but only if every member of the household maintains consistency.
Learn how to keep your family on track to good oral care habits at home daily with these tips. Then, contact Russo Dentistry in Raleigh to learn more about our general dentistry services!
Set clear expectations—for everyone! Make sure children know how and when to brush and floss. It’s important to explain the process in detail to help them remember, and include these tasks in house rules. Plus, writing it down and reminding children helps adults in the home remember them too.
Use visual reference. While you’re setting expectations, consider using dentist-approved reference material to check in with your technique. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into lazier, less effective methods of teeth cleaning.
Reinforce the why. While you still need to schedule regular dental visits, daily brushing and flossing will make them quick and painless every time. That’s why we practice daily dental care! This is especially helpful to remind children and adults who are nervous or uncomfortable going to the dentist.
Be a role model. If possible, schedule family dental appointments close together. If that’s not possible, simply be transparent with children about going to the dentist regularly yourself—and then back it up by always keeping your appointments!
Communicate. Check-in with children and adults alike with regular dental care reminders, especially on busier days.
Use positive reinforcement. Promise a reward (within reason!) for your child and yourself for receiving a clean bill of health from the dentist.
Make it a family affair. To help reinforce a daily teeth cleaning routine, everyone should participate! Care for your own teeth either at the same time or just before or after children. Alternatively, you might accomplish synchronicity with a partner or roommates.
Ensure proper technique. Simply watch your children while they brush their teeth to ensure they’re using the proper motions for the right amount of time. You might consider purchasing a timer or children’s timed toothbrush to help facilitate this even when you’re not around. They make these for adults, too!
Limit evening sweets. Of course, even with great technique, we’re still likely to miss a spot if we’ve recently eaten a sticky or sweet dessert. Enjoy these earlier in the day-if at all!-to prevent sugar resting on your teeth all night.
Remember, just like with every part of a child’s health: good behavior starts with you. Just make sure to model healthy habits yourself, hold them accountable, and communicate the importance of both. Then the rest will fall into a place for a lifetime of optimal oral health!