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Singer-songwriter Faizal Tahir tells Nadia Badarudin that the best way to teach kids oral hygiene is by setting a good example
JUGGLING a busy schedule may hinder some parents from ensuring their children practise good oral hygiene. But not for singer-songwriter Faizal Tahir.
Despite his packed diary, the 34-year-old father will slot in time in the morning to brush his teeth together with his children — Ahmad Mikaeel Zidane, 7, Siti Raudhah Nur Iman, 5, and Ahmad Rifa’ie Zidane, 3.
“It has become a family routine to brush our teeth together,
“Usually we’ll be making the ‘eee...’, ‘ahhh...’ or any funny sound while checking each other’s teeth when we’re done,” says Faizal, who has another daughter, Siti Rawdha Nur Jannah, 1.
Faizal says his children will also brush their teeth before bedtime and will ask him or his wife, Siti Raihanim Noran, 29, to check.
“When I’m away, I call, and asking my kids about their oral care routine is one of my priorities,” he said.
Faizal is the supporting celebrity for this year’s Oral Health Month campaign hosted by Colgate and the Malaysian Dental Association. The crooner is the first celebrity appointed to help in the annual campaign, which has entered its ninth year and is aimed at improving oral health through awareness, education and community services.
The entertainer said that instilling good dental habits among his children was not an easy task. “It’s not as easy as telling them, ‘Brush your teeth or else...’. It won’t work that way when it comes to children.
“To instil good habits, parents should engage them in the process from the beginning, in an interesting and fun way.
“It’s important to show them that we really care,” he says.
He says refraining his children from enjoying sugary food or sweetened drinks is also a challenge.
Thus, it’s crucial to educate them to practise moderation when consuming chocolates, sweets and such.
“I try to make my children understand the effects of such food to their teeth and gums.
“I also remind them to eat in moderation and to brush their teeth afterwards,” he said.
FACEBOOK AND TWITTER CAMPAIGN
Faizal says his role as the Oral Health Month’s supporting celebrity is to increase awareness on the importance of oral health care in line with the campaign motto, “Our Mission: Zero Cavities”.
“During the month-long campaign, my family and I will appear at roadshows to promote good oral hygiene practices as well as encourage regular dental visits among families,” he said.
He would also spread tips on dental care, reminders on the campaign’s roadshows or free dental check-ups via his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“So far, the response has been positive and overwhelming, and I have been receiving morning greetings from my fans with snapshots of them flashing their clean, beautiful teeth,” he said.
Faizal himself has healthy, bright teeth and a dazzling smile. The singer said apart from diligently brushing his teeth at least twice a day, he also flosses and gargles with mouthwash especially before he performs.
“I always clean my teeth before I sing or appear at any function. It has become a habit.
“Sometimes I brush my teeth up to four times a day, especially after I drink coffee or if I eat too much.
“It may be a hassle to some people, but for me, it’s important. Clean teeth and presentable appearance help my self-confidence,” he said.
Start them young
•Tooth decay in children is avoidable. Experts say parents can prevent that from happening, from as early as when the child’s first tooth appears.
•Besides inculcating good oral hygiene practices in children, providing the right choice in food, which include dairy products as well as fruits, fibres and vegetables, is also essential in maintaining oral health.
•The following are tips to prevent tooth decay in children:
1. Limit sweets and other sugary treats as too much will lead to quicker tooth decay.
2. Limit the number of snacks and meals to six a day. Letting your child eat all day is harmful as the food will sit on the teeth and causes decay.
3. Let your child drink lots of water as it increases saliva production, and saliva helps to wash away the sugars left on teeth after a meal.
4. Make sure that your child brushes his or her teeth before bedtime as that is the best time to remove all the food and sugars on the teeth from the day.
5. Visits to the dentist regularly.
Source: Adapted from www.ehow.com — “How to Prevent Tooth Decay In Children”