What kind of routine can you set up for your child in order to assist with their dental health and to create healthy dental habits? Everyone wants to be healthy. One part of overall health is a clean mouth. We are here to help you and give you some tips on forming a routine for healthy dental habits for your children.
It just makes sense that tasks become routines after performing them many times. Also, things become easier and more natural if the environment is conducive to the task at hand. Is your bathroom set up and organized to make brushing and flossing convenient? Here are a few things that can help with this.
ORGANIZE YOUR BATHROOM
- A sturdy step stool is essential unless your child is tall enough to easily spit in the sink. Be sure that the stool is sturdy. No one wants accidents.
- A Dental tool kit should be in a handy, easy-to-reach place. By Dental Tool Kit, we mean a toothbrush, floss, floss picks, toothpaste, rinses, to name a few. We will get into more tools you may want later in this blog.
- Depending on the number of people using a particular bathroom and the size of the bathroom will have bearing on your organization method for storing.
1. Every child gets his/her own drawer for keeping their toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
2. A shelf is designated to each child and supplies are put in a basket.
3. There are over-the-door organizing pouches that don’t take up much room and still meet
your goals of keeping things together, neat and tidy. What about using those over-
the-door shoe pouches? That would do the trick.
- TOOTHBRUSH: Whether you choose a manual brush or an electric brush, scheduling is the same. All children should brush twice a day (after breakfast and before bed) and brush between 2-3 minutes each time. Timers are a good thing to have to assure that your child brushes between 2-3 minutes. The brush should have soft bristles and the head size should be small enough to fit in the mouth and reach the back teeth. Replace your child’s toothbrush every 3-4 months. It is our opinion that a quality electric brush is more effective than a manual brush and many electric brushes on the market have a built-in timer. Have a pattern for going around the mouth to make sure that all surfaces are covered. For example: front to back on the cheek side, front to back on the tongue side, chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your tongue also. By brushing your tongue from back to front, plaque is removed and bad breath is minimized. Keep in mind the importance of proper brushing because it removes food particles and bacteria that cause plaque, which can lead to decay.
- FLOSS: If you look at the floss section of your grocery store, you will see so many different kinds of floss to choose from—something for everyone. Do you like waxed or unwaxed, flavored or plain? There is also something called floss picks. Floss picks are much easier for children to use because they don’t have to wrap the floss around their fingers. Flossing is extremely important because the floss reaches areas that brushing can’t reach, for example, between the teeth. Your dental hygienist can show you and your child the proper way to floss. Even young children with teeth that are not touching each other can get in the habit of flossing. Be sure to floss at least once a day.
- TOOTHPASTE: Just like with the floss, there are so many different kinds and flavors of toothpaste. Check with your dental professional to see the kind of paste recommended for your child and also find out if they recommend added fluoride.
- TONGUE SCRAPER: Brushing the surface of the tongue is an excellent start. Using a tongue scraper goes one step further. Gently drag the tongue scraper from the back of your tongue to the front to remove bacteria and fungus. Research has shown that keeping the tongue clean not only removes bacteria, but also removes sulfur compounds that can cause bad breath.
- WATER PICKS: Water picks can be fun for children to use. It has a reservoir for holding water and a handpiece that, when turned on, sprays a jet of water that helps remove food particles from between the teeth. Just be sure that the handpiece is in the mouth before turning it on. Messy if you don’t.
- AT-HOME PLAQUE STAINING KITS: This is something that is just used from time-to-time to see if your child is brushing properly. The kit contains chewable tablets that color the teeth in areas that are missed by the brush. The color clings to the areas that have excessive plaque. This is a fun experiment to do so your child can see where improvements can be made.
With the beginning of school just around the corner, be sure to start the school year off right with healthy dental habits. When shopping for school supplies, add to your list some of the products for your child’s own DENTAL TOOL KIT. Check this out for more information on the importance of a healthy mouth.