Bad Dental Habits
Bad Dental Habits to Break in the New Year
We know, we know. There are a dozen things you’d rather do than fight your toddler (or teen) on brushing their teeth. And it’s often easier to let things slide so that bedtime and your morning ritual can run smoother. We suggest using the new year to refresh your commitment to upholding a good dental routine for your kids. They won’t know it now, but establishing good habits while they’re young will reap a lifetime of benefits. So, what are some bad dental habits your family may have grown accustomed to? Putting off a dental visit When was the last time your child went to the dentist? Have they ever gone? If you’ve been putting off scheduling an appointment, we suggest calling soon. Often, dentists can spot problems before they start, making treatment easier and less expensive in the long run. Not brushing teeth every day Whether you’ve got little ones who need help with their brushing routine, or older kids who say they’ve brushed when they haven’t, it’s easy to let things slide in favor of domestic harmony. But it’s worth it to make sure they are brushing at least twice a day. If your kids are into technology, here are some apps that can help with this process! Not flossing The earlier you introduce flossing into the dental routine, the better! Make sure your older ones know proper flossing technique. For your younger ones, you can start by flossing for them or showing them how to use a disposable flosser. Chewing on household items Do you have a chewer? We’re not talking about the teething years. We’re talking about your middle schooler who likes to chew on pencils or ice. Help wean them off this habit and reduce the potential for long-term dental issues. Extended pacifier use or thumb-sucking We know these habits can be hard to break, but both can prevent proper teeth and jaw development. Do your best to encourage positive behaviors that replace the need for the pacifier or thumb, versus punishing each time the behavior continues. Positivity is more likely to produce the result you’re looking for, and promotes a positive parent-child relationship! Too many sugary snacks and drinks How many of the snacks and drinks your child consumes are sweet? Try swapping out fruit snacks or graham crackers for string cheese, sliced apples, carrots, or nuts. The less sugar, the better. As for sugar-sweetened beverages and juice, these are too high in sugar and empty calories to justify their use. Save a nice 100% juice for a weekend brunch; otherwise, offer water. Now, there’s no need to feel guilty if any of these habits are alive and well in your household. But do start to think how you can curb them in this new year. Baby steps count! Perhaps by the end of the year, you can look back and see the habit is no longer in place. Good luck!
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