Summer vacation has ended and the kids have gone back to school. Parents who have enjoyed a wealth of free time with the family over the summer break are now finding their days busier than ever. Many parents now find themselves in a scheduling whirlwind and asking themselves “Where did all the time go?”
Let’s face facts. Young children are a non-stop bundle of activities: school during the days, homework in the evenings, afterschool sports, music lessons, tutoring, play dates with new friends, and many other interesting and fun activities. Unfortunately, when school is back in session, many parents face challenges when it comes to keeping up with their kids’ daily schedule – as well as their own. One of the many challenges parents sometimes face is how to continue to promote and develop good oral hygiene habits for their kids. The answer, quite simply, is setting a routine and getting them to adopt it as their own.
Routine is especially beneficial when it comes to developing your children’s good oral hygiene habits. Most pediatric dentists will tell you that an appropriate routine involves brushing after meals and snacks, flossing once a day, and using an oral rinse that’s appropriate for young children.
Did you know? The average American only brushes their teeth for 15 to 20 seconds. Most pediatric dentists (and your adult dentist, for that matter) will always recommend brushing for 2 full minutes. Think about how healthy your child’s teeth and gums will be if they adhere to the 2-minute rule. And by the way, you can find a number of funny 2-minute timed brushing songs on the Web if you do a Google search.
Developing a good oral hygiene routine during the busy school year is crucial for building long-lasting habits that promote good oral health. The following is an easy-to-follow oral hygiene routine you can print up and paste on the bathroom wall for your children.
- Brush your teeth for 2 minutes after breakfast and take a beautiful smile to school.
- Take healthy snacks in your lunch and remember to eat your fruits and vegetables!
- After you’ve eaten an after-school snack, brush your teeth for 2 minutes.
- After dinner, before bedtime, brush your teeth for 2 minutes and floss between your teeth and gums.
Good oral hygiene is something that begins at home and can last a lifetime. As children often mimic the actions and behaviors they see around them, make sure that you reinforce good oral hygiene habits by sticking to your own routine and making your actions visible. And as Dr. Cobb always says: good oral hygiene habits, combined with healthy food choices and bi-annual checkups, are the best ways to prevent tooth decay.