Teaching children proper dental care habits is a daily responsibility that isn't easy for any parent. However, you can make things much easier on yourself when you avoid common mistakes that parents make when encouraging their kids to pick up healthy dental health care habits.
Don't Let Your Kids Play Sports Without a Mouth Guard
Your child could diligently brush their teeth every day for years, yet they could lose a tooth in one second when playing sports without a mouth guard. According to the American Dental Association, mouth guards have been shown to reduce one's risk of getting a sports-related injury. Don't let your children get in the game unless they are wearing a mouth guard.
You can use a mouth guard for a variety of sports. You may know that mouth guards are expected for kids playing football and baseball, but you may be surprised when the coach recommends one for some sports. It's a good idea for your kids to wear a mouth guard when playing water polo and lacrosse. Ice skaters, snowboarders, and skiers should also wear one.
Don't Make Exceptions to Rules Because of Moodiness
Every parent knows that sometimes parenthood feels like picking one's battles. Sometimes you need to let things slide. However, you shouldn't put daily dental care habits by the wayside. If children discover that they can get away with not brushing by causing a fit, they may attempt to do that any time they're just not in the mood to brush.
Instead of making exceptions to the rule when kids aren't in the mood to brush their teeth, talk to them about the situation. Explain that you understand that they don't feel like it. Express sympathy for how they feel. However, insist that they still need to brush their teeth to keep them clean and healthy.
Never Make Dental Care a Competition Between Kids
Sometimes well-meaning parents will hold household contests to motivate their kids to brush, floss, and swish. However, that's a mistake in most situations. It's too easy for the good intentions of the contest to get lost in a rush. For example, kids may get so excited about trying to win that they brush their teeth too aggressively, which can then harm their teeth and gums.
Another danger of making dental care time a competition is that it can spark arguments and resentments. Instead, it's better to talk to children about encouraging each other. Give lots of positive attention when you notice kids taking care of their teeth together.
Don't Ignore the Feedback Your Kids Provide
Although you may be tempted to focus on talking to your kids about their dental care habits, it's also important to listen to what your kids have to say about brushing their teeth, flossing, and swishing with mouthwash. If your children don't easily open up, try asking open-ended questions. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- What would make brushing your teeth a little easier?
- Tell me about how it feels when you brush your teeth.
- What do you like best about brushing your teeth?
- Can you help me understand why you don't want to use mouthwash?
- What changed since you last brushed your teeth?
Also, pay attention to cues that your children are struggling with mastering a habit. For example, a child who finds it difficult to floss may throw a tantrum. Rather than being unwilling to floss, the child may simply struggle with how to do it. It can feel overwhelming. As you observe your kids brushing their teeth, you may discover ways to identify and solve problems.
Finally, one mistake you never want to make is assuming that daily dental care habits alone are enough. Taking your children for regular dental cleanings and check-ups is also an important part of their oral health care. Contact Pembroke Pines Dental to set an appointment today.