As parents, we are the main role models for our children and family. As the ‘grown-ups’ we make all the decisions on what we eat and the lifestyle our family will pursue. Therefore as parents, we are responsible to lay a foundation for our family’s healthy development. We also are highly influential in establishing healthy routines that will serve each family member for a lifetime.
The respiratory system and digestive system both begin in the mouth. They are two of the most important system of the body. Therefore by having a strong oral hygiene routine, we give ourselves the best chance to have good overall health. As parents, we can empower our children by teaching them good oral hygiene practices so they can take ownership of their own oral health and gain the tools that will benefit them for a lifetime.
These practices are simple techniques and habits that are available to everyone to achieve good oral health. Here are 4 practices we can do to help provide our families to have the best oral and overall health.
Practice Good Eating Habits
Eating a diet that is balanced and packed full of nutritional value is an essential step in caring for the health of our teeth. According to the American Dental Association, consuming foods that are rich in calcium and protein can help protect and rebuild tooth enamel.
Cutting back our sugar intake is another major step in caring for our family’s oral health and overall health. Not only does sugar feed the bacteria that contributes to tooth erosion it also can mess around with other systems in our body. Scientific research has shown that sugar is the only food molecule that the human body doesn’t recognize; therefore our body doesn’t know how to metabolize it and so will process it in unbeneficial, even harmful ways.
Practicing good eating habits and reducing our family’s intake of sugar is one of the best things we can do to put them on the right track to good oral health and good general health.
TIPS FOR REDUCING SUGAR AND EATING A BALANCED DIET:
- Be the example – Children watch our every move. So by eliminating sugary food from the pantry and setting the goal ourselves to reduce sugar in our diet will teach our kids that it is possible and beneficial. Side benefit – we’ll feel great health-wise ourselves.
- Empower children – We can do this by involving our kids in the process of shopping and making healthy food choices. Take them food shopping and give them a role such as to find healthy snacks the whole family can enjoy or to find a healthy alternative to a family favorite meal. Go to the fruit and veg section and tell them how each item will benefit them, such as oranges are packed full of vitamin c and will help them fight a cold, or avocadoes are rich in essential fats and will help them grow strong.
- Give treats that aren’t food related – We often treat our child’s good behavior with ice cream or other types of sugary food. Why not treat them instead with a fun activity or making a healthy snack together.
Teach Our Kids to Floss Consciously
Now we obviously know that we all must be conscious in order to floss. Flossing consciously simply means being aware of what we are doing (flossing), keeping in mind why we are doing it (to clean and extract particles our toothbrush otherwise can’t get to), and to look out for signs of infection or disease. By teaching our children to pay attention to how they floss and explaining to them why its important will help encourage them to take oral hygiene seriously. It will also encourage them to place it as an important part of living a healthy life. It will also teach them that flossing is as essential as brushing their teeth and should be part of their good oral hygiene practice.
TIPS ON HOW TO FLOSS CONSCIOUSLY:
- Each time you run the thread of floss between your teeth stop and take a look at what is on the floss. Look out for;
- Discoloration such as red or yellow shades.
- Odd smells
- Swelling, pain or sensitivity
By noticing these things you are consciously flossing and keeping on the lookout for any indications of gum disease or infection between the teeth. By noticing these things straight away means you can do something about it before the problem gets worse.
Teach Our Kids the Proper Way to Brush
Emphasis is on the word ‘proper’ here. It is one thing to get our children into the habit of brushing twice a day, it’s another thing to teach them how to properly brush each tooth effectively to remove debris and food particles that have built up through the day.
Teaching our family the correct brushing technique will help them to prevent cavities and maintain a clean and bright smile. It will also teach them good oral hygiene habits that will benefit them their whole life.
TIPS TO HELP OUR KIDS BRUSH PROPERLY:
- Use short gentle strokes and pay attention to the gum line and hard to reach areas
- Clean the outer surfaces of the upper teeth, then the lower teeth
- Clean the inner surfaces of the upper teeth, then the lower teeth
- Next, clean the chewing surfaces
- Finish by gently brushing the tongue
- Brush for at least 2 minutes and twice daily
Take The Family For Regular Check-ups
Each family member should visit the dentist once a year and a dental hygienist twice a year. This will ensure that each member of the family is maintaining good oral hygiene. At these appointments, a dental hygienist will focus on detection, treatment, and prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. Here, the family will also receive expert education and tips on how to floss and brush properly. This, in turn, will help to motivate them to continue putting in the time and effort to maintain a good oral hygiene practice.