Parents, without a doubt, are crucial when it comes to building a child’s dental health. For various reasons. While there’s no doubt they’re a kid’s first teachers in the ways of oral hygiene, they also play other significant roles in building this foundation. There’s no doubt that the importance of parents on children’s oral health looms more substantially than you’d initially think.
Parents greatly influence a child’s development, that’s a given. But aside from the tasks they do fulfill—like planning meals or setting schedules for daily routines—parents can influence their children in ways they don’t notice. Mothers, in particular, have an influence that begins in the womb, which asks how far back your dental health is determined by your parents.
Aside from teaching good oral hygiene, parents have to keep their own dental care. This is to prevent the severe transmission of oral bacteria and make dental health an integral part of their daily lives. Knowing this importance of parents on children’s oral health, having them engaged in every step of the dental health journey becomes crucial.
That said, how can parents help their children build a solid dental foundation? Here are some ways:
While their child is in the womb, mothers need to work on their dental health
Mothers with poor dental care will most likely have children predisposed to dental decay. And while pregnant, a mother is more vulnerable to dental problems. And here is where you can see the importance of parents on children’s oral health.
Most of this can be attributed to hormone changes, which can make a pregnant mother susceptible to ailments like gum disease. Unfortunately, this turns into a cycle, with the pain preventing mothers-to-be from doing their dental duties. And by neglecting their dental responsibilities, they become more vulnerable to dental decay. Some of which are linked to complications during pregnancy. It’s best, then, to keep your teeth clean and see your dentist regularly during this time. Not only will this affect your dental health, but it will also do wonders for you—and your children’ s—quality of life.
Parents of newborns should regularly clean their baby’s gums
When your newborn first flashes that gummy smile, that’s a sign that it’s time for you to begin their dental health journey. Because newborns don’t have oral bacteria, your primary focus at this stage is to prevent their mouths from full colonization. That means not sharing any utensils and avoiding cross-usage.
Aside from preventive measures, parents can also start their kids on their oral hygiene routine by cleaning gums with a soft cloth and water. That way, even if their babies contract oral bacteria, this doesn’t mean instant colonization.
From 6 months to 1 year, parents should establish good oral hygiene habits
At six months, your child might already have their first teeth come in. This is the perfect time to take your child on their first dental appointment, where their dentist can assess the teeth for any problems. It’s also at this age that you can graduate your children from soft cloth to a small toothbrush. If your child is one year old, you can also use a low-fluoride toothpaste to accustom them to the feel of it—and, give their teeth the fluoride it needs.
The importance of parents on children’s oral health is to help them transition into adult oral habits
Finally, once your child is around 2-3 years old, it’s time for them to learn how to brush and floss on their own. Letting them tag along on your personal oral hygiene routine not only allows them to see how you do it. It also provides you and your children some well-deserved bonding time.