Setting Your Child Up for a Lifetime of Good Oral Habits

Your kids are watching. Children learn from what they see others doing. That’s why you see them modeling the behaviors they observe on a regular basis. When you eat a candy bar while offering your child an apple, you’re sending mixed signals. Good oral habits start at home.

If your child sees you eating an ice-cream sandwich every single day, what does that tell your child?

When you go about your day, your child sees what you do and will begin to mimic it. You might see them miming your actions as you brush your teeth or cook dinner. It’s crucial to be proactive as a parent when it comes to how you behave in front of your child. Bad habits don’t affect just you or your partner—you enforce them simply by doing them when your child is looking at you.

Your child’s diet—and what you eat in front of them—have a significant effect on their teeth. Kissimmee Children’s Dentistry has Dr. Iris Hernandez, a pediatric dentist who can counsel parents on children’s eating habits and general health. We have some great suggestions from her on how to make sure your child has a lifetime of good oral habits.

Sugars and carbohydrates (like the large quantities in juices) need to be moderated carefully, as consuming too much can cause obesity, tooth decay, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even psychological stress.

To ensure that your child picks up good habits from you, you should…

  • Brush your child’s teeth as soon as their first tooth shows up
  • Don’t overuse sugar and salt (don’t forget to check your cereal, ketchup, and peanut butter!)
  • Don’t share toothbrushes with your child
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods (fruits, whole grains, vegetables, minimal fat, cheese, nuts)
  • Encourage your child to drink water instead
  • Include physical activity
  • Include treats as part of a meal, which is less harmful than as a snack
  • Keep low on juice and soda (less than 8 ounces of juice per day)
  • Make brushing into a fun routine (at a certain location, when a certain something happens, or upon a certain time)
  • Make sure your child spits out their toothpaste
  • Move candies and cookies out of sight so they won’t become regular snack choices
  • Take them to the dentist on a regular basis

If you want to learn more about caring for your child’s teeth or make an appointment, call us at (407) 870-0717.