What exactly is oral health? What was once defined as the absence of disease in the oral-facial system now has a more complex definition. According to the World Dental Federation, oral health is “multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort, and disease of the craniofacial complex.”
As a top priority for parents, fostering healthy oral habits continues to be essential for children’s current and future well-being. Let’s closely examine the subject of oral health for children and explore how to encourage good habits.
Demonstrate: Start As Early as Possible
A habit is a particular pattern of behavior performed consistently—and often unconsciously. For this reason, habits can certainly be good, and they can also be inevitably bad. In terms of children’s health—especially oral health that’s essential to one’s physical and mental well-being—the main goal is to develop good foundational habits.
Ergo, the best way to prioritize oral health for children is to begin forming favorable habits early on. Starting on the right foot is how to encourage good habits and build a foundation for healthy everyday routines. Pediatric dentists can assist parents in developing an ideal oral care schedule for their child, including the demonstration of proper brushing and flossing.
Educate: Use Supporting Resources
As the dental experts at Dentistry IQ note, the correct teaching of an oral health habit holds greater significance than technique. Remember, guardians teach oral health habits over time and a child’s changing circumstances, experiences, and perspectives influence their ability to learn these habits.
For this reason, educate your children about daily hygiene, keeping their hands and fingers out of their mouth, making good food choices, and the potential consequences of not going to the dentist regularly. Use encouraging words and supplementary resources such as videos or books to favorably emphasize the importance of oral care.
Remedy: Correct Improper Habits Positively
As research by WebMD suggests, prolonged thumb sucking is one of the most frequent oral health problems in children. This tendency often forms in infancy—sometimes even in the womb. While the behavior isn’t inherently bad early on, the intensity of the sucking could lead to imperative health concerns. As a poor oral health habit, some of the notable dangers of frequent thumb sucking include the spreading of germs and poor bite formation.
While many childhood habits disappear, thumb sucking can persist into the elementary school years. It’s best to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumbs with corrective measures or solutions. Devices such as the AeroThumb by TGuard are effective options to deter the sucking sensation and form healthy oral hygiene habits for years to come. No matter one’s age, good oral health will always be vital for general well-being.
“About oral health” from the FDI World Dental Federation
“Helping children find solutions for oral health care” fromDentistry IQ
“Oral Health Problems in Children” from WebMD