It’s never too soon to start teaching your children about the importance of good oral health or to start developing a routine that will carry them throughout their lives. While some children will take to the task at hand easily and without much fuss, every child learns differently so some may take a little extra coaxing. Here are a few tips for you to help your little ones keep their teeth and gums healthy.
- Teach your children about their teeth. Explain the different types of teeth, how many they have, where they are located and even what their jobs are. As adults we have 32 teeth – twelve molars (in sets of three in the back of the mouth), eight premolars (also known as bicuspids, these teeth are used to crush and tear food), four cuspids (next to the premolars, these teeth are pointed which make tearing food easy) and eight incisors (located in the front of the mouth, these teeth are used to cut food.)
- Read books specifically about dental health. A trip to your library or local book store will provide plenty of age-appropriate reading material that explains and discusses good dental health. For younger children, books with more illustrations are a better choice. If you are able to connect to the Internet, the American Dental Association’s website offers an animated book about going to the dentist.
- Experiments are fun, too! You can come up with your own experiments or, if you prefer, Crest offers a great experiment on their website that shows how teeth can become soft and weak if they are continuously exposed to acids that are normally found in foods we eat every day.
- As with anything else that you are teaching your child, remember that you are their role model. Allow your children to observe you as you brush and floss and they’ll be much more likely to accept this as part of their own daily routine.
Oral health begins as soon as teeth begin to develop in infancy. The sooner you start teaching your child to develop good oral hygiene habits the better.