We are born with a clean slate and our instincts aren’t all that great, but they are enough to get us by with the help of an adult. As we grow, we are taught things that will help us get by in life on our own. Along the way, we also pick up habits, both good and bad. The good ones keep us safe, successful and healthy – the others do the opposite. As parents, it is important that we start our children off successful when it comes to forming good habits.
It is a common misconception that a child’s teeth aren’t all that important because they fall out to make way for their permanent ones. Because of this thought process, children aren’t always taught about dental hygiene. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge leads to tooth decay and more dental visits. Thankfully, there is something we can do to prevent our child’s oral health from declining to that state – teach them young.
In 2013, there was a study done in Scotland that wanted to prove that implementing a nursery tooth brushing program nationwide would reveal a reduction of tooth decay in five-year olds. Each health service administrative board area would distribute a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, then supervise the toddler’s teeth brushing practices to teach them proper technique. Once taught, the children would continue the practice at home and over the next twelve years, their dental health would be monitored. Those that were taught in nursery school had a decrease in dental decay from 3.06 to 2.07 once they reached ages 10-12, thus proving that the earlier they are taught to take care of their teeth, the healthier their mouths will be.
Because baby teeth are only temporary, they aren’t as strong as our permanent ones turn out to be. This makes them more susceptible to developing tooth decay. If they aren’t looked after daily, the more frequent (and painful) the tooth decay will be, making this habit a top priority. Once they understand the basics, it is now imperative to keep them motivated enough to continue the process to form a habit. Consistency is key.
A study was done in Ponta Grossa, PR, Brazil in order to prove that it takes more than just the basics to develop a habit. 26 kindergarteners were selected and the presentation was broken up into three stages – zero knowledge, a motivational presentation once basic knowledge was given, and a thirty-day check-up to see if anything stuck. As they learned more about their dental health, they more they would make better choices when it came to their teeth.
It is never too young to teach our little ones about the importance of maintaining a good dental routine. In fact, these studies that have proven that stressing these good dental habits at an early age can not only set the stage for the rest of their lives, but will also decrease the chances of developing tooth decay.
For more information regarding pediatric dentistry, contact Dr. Ted Haines, DDS in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com for additional information.
Dr. Ted Haines proudly accepts patients from Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.