As a parent, your plate is already full. You have to juggle work, friends, family, housework, and more while taking care of the kids. That means you can use all the shortcuts and life hacks that you can get.
Call our Birmingham, MI dental office today at 248-972-8720 to make your next appointment for family dentistry. Dr. Newingham is not just expertly trained in dentistry; he knows how to work well with children. In the meantime, you can start turning good dental action into habits that can stick with your children, even when they grow up.
Turning An Action Into A Family Dentistry Habit
What is the difference between something you do and a habit? With a habit, you do it almost automatically. It’s a normal part of your routine, so the idea of not doing it rarely pops up. Instead, a habit is something you just do even if you’re not sure why.
That’s why it’s important to turn dental actions (brushing teeth, using dental floss, drinking water, etc.) into dental habits. This means you don’t have to constantly remind them to do what they should be doing.
But how do you turn an action into a great habit?
- First, explain why the habit benefits them. Even kids can understand that brushing and flossing for a few minutes today can mean they won’t need a cavity filled at the dentist’s office.
- Then have your kids repeat the same action, in the same way, at the same time each day. It’s what coaches do to help their players learn skills and turn them into habits on the field.
Giving Kids Those Healthy Dental Habits
Here are some tips for giving specific good dental habits to your children.
Show your kids that you brush and floss like they should be doing
You know how kids love to play “grown up?” Children want to be adults in many ways, so they watch adults and try to imitate them. This same feeling makes them want to stop doing “baby stuff.” So what happens if you tell your kids to brush and floss, but they never see you doing it? They assume dental care is kids stuff.
You don’t have to make a big spectacle of it. But every so often, make sure your children see that you brush and floss just like they do. Then they’ll be more likely to keep doing that themselves, turning brushing and flossing into a habit.
Bring your kids to the store so they can buy their own toothbrushes
Because they’re immature, kids can’t have a whole lot of control over their lives. Yet wanting that is very normal for any age. You can tap into that to help make brushing a habit.
Instead of buying them a toothbrush when the old one gets too worn, take them to the store and let them pick one out themselves. Just a bit of control like that can make kids want to brush more often.
Make appointments for you right along ones for your children
Dental offices can be a bit scary for young kids. Even older ones may have some trouble there, what with all the strangers who want to touch their teeth. This can make them get into the habit of not liking dental visits, which does not help when they grow up.
To fight this, make an appointment for yourself right along with ones for your kids. As with brushing and flossing, this can show your kids how important it is to get a dental cleaning and dental exam every six months.
Treat all soda and juices like they’re desserts
You know to restrict how many times kids eat dessert. Even fruit-based desserts like strawberry pie are very high in sugar, which can increase your kids’ risk of cavities and gum disease. That’s part of why you need to treat fruit juices like desserts. They’re also full of sugar.
But juices and all sodas (yes, even diet ones) are highly acidic. This acid weakens enamel over time, causing damage similar to a cavity. As with desserts, there’s nothing wrong with having them occasionally, but treat them with caution.