Oral health has always been an important aspect of human health, but it was a less researched area in the past. Before, people weren’t aware of the biology of oral and dental diseases and lack appropriate oral and dental equipment. Thankfully, today’s generation is lucky to have many resources available to take care of oral and dental health.
Particularly, the improvement in oral and dental health awareness started in the Baby Boomer Generation until today. Because of the availability of oral and dental care technology, such as fluoride toothpaste and dental products, people have better chances of maintaining good oral and dental health.
Oral and Dental Health In Children: A Parent’s Responsibility
To ensure good oral and dental health, one should always start younger. In this way, children can immediately set a foundation to develop excellent oral and dental health as they grow up. No one can teach children better about oral health than their own parents.
In this article, you’re going to explore many reasons why you should, as a parent, teach your children about proper oral health:
1. Costly Oral and Dental Treatments
Poorly maintained oral health is unquestionably a magnet for mild to severe oral illnesses that require immediate treatment. Unfortunately, dental treatment prices in NZ are skyrocketing, causing 87% of their population to disregard their oral and dental healthcare. The United States, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia are on par as well.
Therefore, it’s important to teach your children how to take care of their oral health to save more oral healthcare costs in the future. While regular dental visits and investment in good oral and dental products demand up-to-date expenses, it’ll be a noteworthy investment for your child’s future.
2. Prevention Of Associated Illnesses
Dental caries, or tooth decay, occur in a majority of infants and young children. In fact, tooth decay is five times more common than asthma in children. Once dental caries starts in one tooth, it’ll be difficult to prevent bacteria from attacking the entire anatomy. As a responsible parent, you should emphasize to your children that excellent oral hygiene is their first line of defense against oral and dental diseases and even other illnesses.
Without proper oral hygiene, your children will be more susceptible to mild to average oral and dental diseases, including plaque, halitosis or bad breath, and gum diseases. If their oral health awareness and practice don’t improve as they age, it can lead to worse conditions that affect the entire body, such as:
- Respiratory infections like pneumonia
- Diabetic complications
- Cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease caused by gingivitis
3. Changes In A Child’s Oral and Dental Anatomy
Childhood is the most important era of one’s life as it’s when different parts of the body develop, and the oral and dental anatomy is no exception. In the first two to three years of age, your child will undergo primary dentition, which is when the primary teeth emerge and develop. This set of primary teeth serves to assist chewing and speech, but they’re relatively weaker than permanent teeth. Teaching your child good oral and dental care will help protect their primary dentition, as well as their transition to permanent teeth.
Although permanent dentition starts in 3-year-olds, the permanent teeth will only finish forming at around six years or more. Therefore, there’s a point in their childhood life where both primary and permanent teeth will cross over. During this time, brushing will be more difficult because of the loose primary tooth. The jaw will also grow significantly and the spaces in-between teeth will be narrower, requiring more care and attention.
4. Potential Effects On Psychosocial Behavior
Oral health and dental aesthetics can greatly impact one’s mood, behavior, and self-esteem. There’s no better time to encourage someone to look after their oral and dental health than their childhood, as everything that children will practice is going to reflect in their life later on. Aside from the health consequences, teaching your kids early about oral health can lead to better psychosocial behavior.
For example, a lack of proper oral care may lead to bad breath or several tooth extractions. Because of these, a child may feel less confident in smiling and talking to people, which can result in shyness, social withdrawal, or isolation.
Furthermore, frequent toothache and tooth infection may induce bad temper and decreased cognitive performance. Since their emotional equilibrium is still in progress, these occurrences can lead to less social and cognitive involvement.
5. Lessen Dental Fear
Many children dread their trips to the dentist. There are many factors that influence a child’s dental fear, which makes them discouraged and unhappy to receive regular oral and dental check-ups. By educating your child about the importance of oral and dental health, you can eliminate their dental fear and enlighten them about the experience.
For example, you can utilize visual aids, such as infographics and videos, to help your child understand oral health concepts better. You can also offer some form of reward to your child after the dental visit. Before setting an appointment with your dentist, always make sure that your kids have enough preparation.
Tips In Teaching Your Kids About Oral Health
Now that you’ve understood the significance of creating oral and dental health awareness for your children, the most important part of your role is teaching them how to do it properly. In light of this, here are the best tips on how you can teach your kids about oral and dental health:
- Brush teeth regularly with the right brushing equipment. Since their teeth are more delicate and sensitive, provide them a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Brushing your teeth doesn’t mean you should skip flossing, which is what many people tend to forget or neglect. While your children are still young, it would be best to teach them how to properly floss their teeth.
- Teach your child about proper diet and eating habits. Don’t be too strict about their sugary food intake as it’s already in their nature, but regulate their consumption and encourage them to eat teeth-friendly foods.
From one’s infancy to senior years, oral and dental health is undeniably essential to one’s overall health. While it may not be too late for people to start looking after their oral health, starting at a very young age offers more health advantages. Encouraging and teaching your children about proper oral hygiene will go to waste if you don’t become a role model yourself, which is indeed the most effective method of teaching and creating oral health awareness.
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