More than we realize, good oral hygiene habits have a significant impact on your child’s life. According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, children miss an average of 0.5 days of school due to dental reasons. 17 percent of these absences are linked with pain or infection.
The study further provides that the impact of absences due to dental pain or infection pertains to the number of school days missed and the overall performance of children at school. Children with poor or fair oral health are likely to have poor academic performance.
What Is Oral Hygiene
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines oral hygiene as the habit of keeping one’s mouth, teeth, and gums healthy and clean by regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkup. One prevents tooth decay, gum disease, and other more serious oral health issues with good oral hygiene.
Why Good Oral Hygiene Is Important
Apart from keeping your teeth and gums healthy, good oral hygiene is linked with your overall health. Your mouth is an entry point for bad bacteria to invade your body. Though your body’s natural defenses and good oral health care could prevent these bacteria from causing harm, poor oral hygiene can increase the levels of bad bacteria that can cause oral diseases.
According to studies, one’s oral health also contributes to other chronic medical conditions in adults, including cardiovascular diseases, pregnancy and birth complications, and diabetes. Endocarditis or the infection of the heart chambers’ inner lining could occur due to the spread of bad bacteria from one’s mouth to the bloodstream.
Children and teens suffering from poor dental health suffer from several psychosocial problems. Repeated toothache can cause children to be more bad-tempered and have difficulty controlling their emotions. They are also less likely to get involved with other children in any group activities.
Dental caries in school-age children can make them feel shy and unattractive. Children and adolescents with dental malocclusion tend to be more socially withdrawn, afraid to smile, and more anxious about how others perceive them. Studies also found out that they have 30 to 40 percent likely to develop depression and unhappiness.
Considering all these things, good oral hygiene goes beyond appearance. There are health and psychological considerations attached to it. Parents and caregivers should be more motivated to train children to look after their oral health at a young age. With this in mind, here are some suggestions to encourage your child to develop good oral hygiene.
Ways to Encourage Your Children to Develop Good Oral Hygiene
#1 Be a Role Model
Children learn best by example, and the best way to teach them good oral habits is by practicing them with them. As your children witness your everyday brushing and flossing your teeth, they will learn by example. Though they are unlikely to grasp the lesson behind it immediately, good dental habits will become ingrained in their system.
Make it a nightly routine for your family to brush your teeth together. This way, you can teach your children the proper way of brushing and supervise their progress.
#2 Incorporate Fun in Brushing
Children dread activities that feel like chores, and your nightly family teeth brushing routine does not have to be boring. Inject some fun when brushing with these ideas:
- Use electric and musical toothbrushes. Children love electric toothbrushes. Not only is it easier to use, but the music from this technology encourages kids to brush their teeth following the 2-minute brushing duration recommended by dentists.
- Opt for fun dental floss holders. Children are more encouraged to floss if they are going to break it off from a floss container shaped like a teddy bear or any cartoon character.
You may also consider buying interactive mouthwash for your children. These mouthwashes stain the plaque with certain colors that help point out spots your kids missed brushing.
#3 Visit the Dentist Regularly
Another great way of teaching your children the importance of good oral hygiene is by taking them to a regular dental appointment. Being exposed at a young age to a pediatric dentist helps your kids overcome the fear of dental appointments and dentists in general.
#4 Encourage Eating Healthy Foods
Good oral hygiene does not stop with brushing, flossing, and regular dentist appointments. Other than these, encouraging your kids to embrace a healthier diet helps in developing good dental habits. Leafy greens, apples, nuts, and cheese are some foods that are good for their teeth and gums.
Though most children begin to take care of their oral health once they grow permanent teeth, this is not always the case. Thus, you can never overemphasize the value of good dental health.