Establishing Good Habits For Your Kids and Their Teeth
As a lot of people will likely tell you, practice makes perfect. A lot of people talk about this in the context of various career or recreational skills, but one shouldn’t fail to mention that it also applies perfectly when it comes to good habits. A lot of the time, people mean to do something well, like working out or keeping organized, but end out falling out of practice with it due to a lack of experience in sticking to it. The ideal way to avoid this is by starting early and making sure that for you, the norm is a good set of habits. This mentality is perfect when it comes to helping your children take care of their teeth, and here are some good things to keep in mind.
It may surprise you to hear that 1 in 5 children between 5 and 11 end up having at least one untreated decayed tooth, but you have to remember that a lot of the foods out there, especially ones targeted towards children, are filled with sugar and other unhealthy components, including some that can lead to tooth decay.
Interestingly, it wasn’t always this way. According to Dr. Sam Carroll, DMD, of Yuma Smiles in Yuma, AZ, “hundreds of thousands of years ago, people ate natural foods such as wheat and rice, fruits and vegetables. Without today’s chemicals and processing, these foods contained nutrients that helped keep teeth and gums healthy. These fibrous foods helped flush away food and debris from the teeth. Because of diet, teeth were resistant to both cavities and dental infections.
Compared with today’s average diet of highly processed food that loaded with sugar, the meals eat by ancient people were wholesome, natural, and nutrient dense. Today, people are often deficient in critical minerals and vitamins because of the foods they eat. It can cause teeth to become weak and prone to decay. Our sedentary lifestyles negatively impact our oral health as well. Lack of exercise can lead to digestive problems that cause stomach acids to rise into the mouth, harming our teeth.”
So, what do you do to try and create a tooth-friendly diet for your child? It’s important to understand the concept of an occasional treat versus adding a lot of these items into your daily life. It may also be a good idea to see if you can try and find healthy alternatives to a lot of the snacks your child may be eating. This may mean giving up a few of your favorites also, but the rewards are well worth it. Note that there are a few foods, like whole grains and dairy products, that can strengthen teeth as well.
For the most part, its poor diets that end up the cause of a lot of dental issues, but what allows them to progress to the issue itself is a lack of proper dental hygiene. This can range from not brushing properly to not using the right products to forgetting to floss.
To start, make sure that your child is actually demonstrating proper brushing technique. This means taking up to two minutes, being sure to count to make sure they don’t skip out early. Make sure that they are using a circular brushing motion and not forgetting to get the gums, either. Finally, make sure that floss and mouthwash are being used when appropriate. If it helps, treat it as a bit of a checklist when you watch them to make sure that they don’t miss anything, and have they say all the steps out to you when they are done. In time, it will become second knowledge to keep that checklist going in their head.
Now, it’s important when working to establish these habits that you understand that it’s not going to be perfect every time. After all, these are children, and children will make mistakes, even when they are trying to do things right. The best course of action to take is not only being understanding in the process of establishing oral health habits but also to lead by example. Make sure that you’re brushing every day, have a positive attitude about the dentist, and also make sure that you’re eating all the healthiest foods possible. The mantra of “do as I say, not as I do,” rarely works when it comes to situations like these.