Taking care of your children and making sure that they are happy and healthy are some of the most rewarding things you get to do as a parent. Knowing that you’ve helped to protect them from illness down the road and that they have endless possibilities ahead of them can be an unbeatable feeling. Parents never take their children’s health for granted, as seeing them healthy is one of life’s great joys.
However, while it is easy to put bandages on scrapes and give them hot chicken noodle soup when they feel yucky, some health issues are a bit harder to spot. Making sure that your child’s oral health is up to par can be a bit of a struggle, but it is an incredibly important aspect of their overall health. Your child’s dental care can often determine whether or not they will have some serious health problems later in life.
Regular Preventative Care
While it can certainly be hard to get your child to brush their teeth, making sure that they develop healthy brushing habits is one of the best ways to introduce them to preventative care. Teaching them the importance of taking care of their own health, that the act of brushing their teeth itself is rewarding without any external rewards or punishments, sets them up for success. Providing the structure that children crave around teeth-brushing time is essential, as it will make the act of engaging in their own preventative care second nature.
If we are to look to a country to model our children’s preventative healthcare after, the United States boasts some surprisingly good statistics in regards to childcare. The majority of children in the U.S. are insured, receive regular preventative healthcare check-ups, and are generally considered to be in good health. In terms of dental health, 77 per cent of children in the country receive preventive dental care. Their dietary choices in life may undo all that hard work, but as children, they tend to be healthy.
Preventative oral healthcare should be instilled in our children early on so that they have the best chance at a lifetime of good health. Teaching them to take care of their teeth and mouth through regular, healthy brushing and flossing not only improves their overall health but helps take a good bit of strain off of your wallet as well. Scheduling yearly dental appointments and helping them to avoid too much sugar will help to guarantee a healthy set of teeth for years to come.
Poor Dental Health Can Cause Serious Issues
Children’s dental health is about so much more than a set of pearly white teeth and a beautiful smile. While a fantastic smile will surely help your child socially, the benefits of proper dental care extend well beyond outward appearance. Conversely, a lack of attention to a child’s dental health can lead to potentially dangerous medical issues.
If children don’t receive regular dental services from a licensed professional, they can develop periodontal disease, gingivitis, and painful cavities that may require a root canal. While all of these will, of course, be painful for your child and may turn them off of seeing the dentist, the treatments involved are generally much more expensive than yearly visits for a checkup. Additionally, dentists offer up cancer screenings that could potentially save your child’s life.
Visiting the dentist regularly will certainly keep your child’s teeth white and breath fresh, but it will also help to prevent other serious illnesses. Poor dental health has been linked to respiratory problems, diabetes, and even heart disease. Preventing these terrible diseases from affecting your child is as simple as scheduling a yearly appointment with your dentist and helping them to develop healthy brushing habits.
Making It Fun for Your Child
Teaching healthy brushing habits can be a bit harder than it might seem. There are many reasons that children hate brushing their teeth, from disliking the sensation of the toothbrush against their teeth to an aversion to the minty flavour most toothpaste comes in. While a preference for flavour can be easily corrected and a softer toothbrush can be used, developing the actual habit of brushing is still quite difficult.
Making the habit of brushing their teeth stick isn’t impossible, you just have to be a bit creative in how you approach the problem. You can make brushing a fun experience for your kids in a multitude of ways, either turning it into a game by setting an egg timer for the recommended full two minutes and making a game of it or dancing and singing while they brush their teeth. Ideally, you will brush your teeth at the same time, setting a positive example and showing them the proper way of doing things.
Other ways to get your children to actually want to brush their teeth could be having siblings practice on each other, brushing one another’s teeth. Let them pick out their own brightly coloured toothbrush with their favourite characters on it and encourage them to choose their own flavour of toothpaste. Overall, the best idea is to normalise the practice of brushing their teeth, making it a regular part of their everyday routine.
Eventually, you will find that your children gradually come to brush their teeth without any fuss. You will most likely have to floss their teeth for them still, as it is a bit more difficult than brushing. Teaching your children the importance of taking care of their own dental care sets them up for a lifetime of good health, so get to it!