The Dental Professional’s Role in Establishing Oral Health Habits Early

Article sponsored by quip.

Studies show that children who start developing habits at an early age are more likely to keep these habits through adulthood. This can be beneficial if the habits they are forming are healthy, like brushing for two minutes twice a day and getting comfortable visiting the dentist and hygienist regularly. On the other hand, unhealthy habits can last a lifetime if developed in childhood, like skipping out on brushing twice a day, not visiting the dentist regularly, and generally not understanding the importance of oral health. Establishing habits that promote consistent and complete oral care routines is extremely important, and dental professionals play a large role in helping shape these habits through OHI at regular dental visits and recommending products that can make home care easy and enjoyable for all ages.

Establishing the Importance of Proper Oral Hygiene

One way to help parents get involved with their children’s home care routines is to educate them about how the habits children form in childhood will likely follow them throughout the rest of their lives. As dental professionals know, oral health is often neglected and not prioritized as it should be, with less than 50% of people not brushing twice a day, and up to 35% not visiting the dentist regularly. This can lead to decay, pain, and disease in the mouth, but it can also have an affect psychologically.

A study conducted in 2017 shows that adolescent patients with poor dental health can have lower self-esteem which can have a negative psychological effect on them throughout their lives. Another study done by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry showed that 75% of people say they associate success based on the appearance of a person’s smile and that 1 out of 4 Americans avoids smiling due to the condition of their teeth. When children have healthy, clean teeth, this can help give them confidence and self-esteem that shows in their smiles as they grow up.

Additionally, many parents do not know there is a systemic link between the mouth and other conditions and diseases. If children grow up with bad oral health habits and don’t understand the importance of taking care of their teeth, they could develop periodontal disease as adults, which is linked to other conditions, such as diabetes, respiratory illness, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Overall, reiterating the importance of oral care habits and reminding parents how likely children’s habits may impact them later in life can motivate parents to encourage a consistent care routine at home with their children.

Habits

A study out of Brown University said that once children turn nine years old, their routines and habits are unlikely to change as they grow up. This means that the daily routines of children in their early years play a much larger role than previously thought, and is instrumental in the habits they have as adults. As dental professionals, we know that habits play a major role in oral health. Patients with consistent, long-term oral care habits will most likely have better oral health than those who don’t form the basic habits that keep their teeth and gums healthy. Knowing that children’s habits play a large role in their future oral health, we should acknowledge the importance of good oral care habits and help encourage healthy routines. Unfortunately, we only have two opportunities per year (if parents take their children on time) to help reinforce the importance of oral hygiene habits. Encouraging the child and the parent to make these habits a consistent routine is essential to establishing a lifetime of good oral health.

Providing the Right Tools to Get Healthy

It’s hard to make dental hygiene fun, especially for kids. With the right combination of tools and education, children can establish routines that they will actually want to follow on a regular basis. One example of a tool that helps develop these healthy routines is the quip Kids Electric Toothbrush. When you think of a kid’s brush, you may think of a kid-size brush with flashing lights, music, stickers, and so on. Surprisingly, after quip conducted research with parents, pediatric dentists and kids to help design the perfect toothbrush for kids, they found that kids quickly lose interest in “childish” brushes. Instead, they want and enjoy using brushes that look like their parents’. Having a brush like mom and dad’s makes them feel grown up. Therefore they take more responsibility and pride in their daily oral care routines.

Additionally, kids enjoyed the sonic vibrations and benefited from the two-minute timer, and 30-second guiding pulses of quip features that are absent from many disposable kids brushes, or are often only available in expensive adult brushes. They also received the subscription service that ensures kids will get their brush heads delivered right to their house, which makes for an interactive, fun experience that excites and encourages children to change out their old brush head for a fresh one.

Lastly, each child receives a kid-friendly brochure filled with dental tips and instructions, just for kids, to help motivate them to start their routines off right. This can be a simple and effective way to get children into oral care and help them establish healthy habits they will be able to use throughout their lives to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

In conclusion, dental professionals play an extremely important role in helping children and parents understand the value of consistent oral care routines. Children tend not to brush properly, or for long enough, and encouraging the parents to get involved with their child’s brushing routines can lead to better oral care for the child.  Knowing that childhood habits stay with kids for life is something we can use to motivate parents to practice healthy oral care habits with their kids. Additionally, providing parents and children with the right tools and education can make proper and consistent brushing more fun for a brighter, healthier smile.

“All Star Brushers” Giveaway!

quip believes hygienists are essential in helping children develop healthy oral care habits. As such, quip is giving 100 hygienists a chance to reward their “All-Star Brushers” with free kids brushes! Each winner will receive four kids starter sets, which includes a kids quip electric toothbrush, a toothpaste, and a pack of quip “All-Star Brusher” stickers to gift to their special, little brushers!

To enter, click here!

*This Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook, and Sponsor is not responsible for the actions of Facebook. Facebook’s terms and conditions will apply to use of the Facebook platform.

Previous articleImplant Maintenance: An Overview
Next articlePancreatic Cancer and the Dental Health Link
Elisa Brittain, RDH, BS
Elisa Brittain, RDH, BS, attended NYU College of Dentistry, where she received her degree in dental hygiene, and graduated with honors and received the NYUCD Dean's Scholarship for Continuing Education. While working as a dental hygienist, she completed her Bachelor’s of Science at NYU, studying business, health policy, and healthcare administration. While studying, she was elected to the Council of Ethics and Professionalism at NYU and received a scholarship to travel to Guatemala for three weeks to work at a healthcare clinic, providing preventative care to the underserved population. After over three years practicing clinical dental hygiene, Elisa now works with quip, an oral care company based out of Brooklyn, New York, as their Dental Community Manager.