We want the best oral health for your child, but before we can do that, it is important to focus on ourselves. Parents are the first role model that children look up to, which means if we have poor oral hygiene habits, our kids will likely create the same habits. In order to be a happy, healthy parent with children that want good oral health too, it is time to take a look at our own oral health habits.
When we ask ourselves the following questions to determine where we stand on our own oral health care today we can have an idea of what our kids are thinking:
· How many times a day do I brush my teeth? If the answer is not at least twice a day, it is time to start. At the very least, everyone should be brushing in the morning and at night.
· Do I floss every day? Flossing should be done at least once per day, preferably before we brush our teeth to allow any particles that become loosened to be brushed away.
· Do my gums bleed when I brush? If even faint signs of blood are seen, we could either be brushing too hard or have the beginning stages of gum disease. Try brushing softer and if the bleeding does not stop, it is time for an appointment for a gum disease evaluation.
· How is my diet? Is it a diet filled with plenty of fruits and vegetables or do we rely on processed foods, high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates? All of these foods can promote tooth decay and should be kept to a minimum in any diet.
· How are my stress levels? High levels of stress can contribute to issues such as TMJ and even tooth loss if we are constantly grinding our teeth down at night. High levels of stress can be reduced by finding an outlet for it such as exercise, yoga, meditation or just confiding in a friend.
· How often do I come in for an appointment? At the very least, everyone should be seen for a full dental evaluation and cleaning twice per year. This allows our office to catch any oral health issues early, making treatment non-invasive and successful.
These habits are likely habits that we want our children to grow up with, but it needs to start with us. It is best to take a few minutes to evaluate ourselves, making changes wherever necessary. It is easy to get caught in a rut, but it is just as easy to make the necessary changes for our children’s benefit.