Few children, if any, are able to find the inner drive and motivation to brush after every meal, avoid sugary and acidic foods, floss once a day and make regular visits to the dentist. Even more so than adults, most children need to be urged, pleaded with, cajoled, encouraged and yes, even bribed, just to do the basics of good dental practices. Parents practically pull their own teeth keeping their children’s teeth healthy.
What though if you didn’t, or don’t, have parents with an active interest in dental health habits? What if you come from a long line of family members who think root canals, missing teeth and dentures are just an inevitable part of life? The cycle of neglect, denial, shame and dental disease tends to run in families, but it is usually the bad habits — not the genetics — that are to blame. You are not doomed to have bad teeth, neither are your children and grandchildren. The cycle stops with you! If you accept no more excuses, saving your teeth and the teeth of your children is completely doable.
First Steps to Dental Health
First, make an appointment ASAP to assess the dental situation of each family member. Be the first person in your family who fights through the fear of going to the dentist. You have more to fear by not seeing the Placerville Dental Group than you do by coming in for an appointment!
Second, good habits start now! Celebrate the future of your teeth by purchasing a new soft-bristled toothbrush for each family member. Get your kids involved! Let them pick the colors and find a fun toothbrush style they will love to use. Let them assign a toothbrush color for each family member. If you store them in a bathroom drawer, a nice way to keep them organized, and separated, is by using a plastic bin designed for holding spoons, forks and knives.
Third, get some fluoride toothpaste in a flavor that you love. Let the kids pick out their own toothpaste flavor in a fun color. Buy some yummy flavored dental rinse. Purchase dental floss you’ll use — waxed, unwaxed, woven, flat, cinnamon or mint flavored – it doesn’t matter. Buy floss. Use floss. Floss is your friend. Look into getting some battery operated toothbrushes for your kids and a water irrigating system for yourself. Try whatever it takes to get the bad stuff out of your mouth and the good stuff in.
Lastly, make brushing, flossing and rinsing a part of your family routine. Give the kids high fives, stickers and stars, sing songs, play music, promise extra allowance, an extra bedtime story, stand on your head, whatever it takes to get them to take care of their teeth. Until they’re capable of doing it on their own, it will take you doing it for them. This is not something they can be trusted to do well when they are very young. They need your help.
Commit to Dental Health
Make your family dental appointments soon. Just do it! Don’t be shy or embarrassed; our Placerville dentists have seen it all. End this cycle now. The poor dental history in a family can end with you. Your kids and grandkids will thank you with healthy smiles in all the family photos to come!