These days, avoiding and eliminating germs, viruses and diseases are on top of every parent’s mind. Because our mouths are the gateway for germs to enter our bodies, Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) wants to share some oral health tips that parents and children can practice every day to help limit the spread of harmful viruses and diseases.

Avoid sharing eating utensils, food and drinks.

It’s common for parents to share their forks, spoons and chopsticks with their little ones. But the sharing of these utensils can easily transfer germs from one body to another. HDS recommends parents always have a separate spoon or fork on hand for their children. When it comes to sharing food, parents will sometimes chew on the food to soften it for young children who have just started incorporating solid foods into their diet. This method, which may seem helpful, spreads germs and bacteria significantly faster from parent to child. It’s also important to limit the amount of finger foods and make sure all hands touching the food have been washed properly. Sharing drinks is also an easy way for germs to spread through the mouth. Always have a sippy cup or a separate cup for your child.

Avoid sharing toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste.

The sharing of a toothbrush, floss or toothpaste within a family (even between parent and child) may lead to several health problems. This is because every mouth may harbor hundreds of different bacteria and viruses which can be transferred from mouth to mouth. It also makes both users susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and oral infections. Sometimes brushing may cause the gums to bleed, which means sharing a toothbrush could expose your child to a bloodstream disease. Every person should have his or her own toothbrush, floss and toothpaste at home.

Brush, floss and visit the dentist!

The best way to keep your child’s smile healthy is to remind him or her to brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit their dentist regularly. Poor oral health directly impacts a child’s overall health. It’s common for tooth decay to cause pain and even affect your child’s ability to eat nutritious foods. Sharing these healthy habits helps your family combat germs so you all can Live Well, Smile More.

Read More: Flip through the Summer Issue 2020.