As a parent, you know that proper dental care is essential for helping your kids to preserve their smile for a lifetime, yet getting kids to brush and floss can often feel like pulling teeth. Fortunately, kids have a playful nature that you can use to encourage good dental hygiene. From sharing foamy toothpaste grins to singing silly songs, you can use these strategies to add a dose of fun that will reinforce the importance of your kid’s dental hygiene routine.
Let Them Pick the Flavor
Adult toothpastes can often taste harsh to children and that tingly feeling you associate with freshness may be too strong for your kids to enjoy. Instead of sharing a tube, allow your child to pick out a kid’s toothpaste in a flavor they prefer. While they enjoy the bubblegum or fruity taste, you can rest assured that they are brushing their pearly whites. Just make sure they only use a small amount and rinse afterward so that swallowing is minimized.
Make It a Family Event
Kids love mimicking their parents, and you can model proper tooth brushing techniques during your kid’s nightly routine. Start by brushing your teeth, and making exaggerated faces that will make your child giggle. Then, have them copy your actions. You can even take turns brushing each other’s teeth. When your child sees that you enjoy taking care of your teeth, they will develop a healthy attitude, too.
Use a Musical Timer
Kids should brush for at least two minutes twice a day to effectively clean their teeth. Yet, keeping time is a skill that most kids are still developing. To keep them on task, play their favorite music for two minutes, or you could sing a song to younger kids. Some toothbrushes also play music or light up when two minutes have passed.
Visit a Kid-Friendly Dentist
Kids who establish a strong relationship with their dentist at an early age are more likely to develop better oral health habits as they grow. Make sure your kid attends regular appointments for checkups and cleanings. Even if your kid has healthy teeth, these early visits provide an opportunity for their dentist to demonstrate proper tooth brushing and flossing.
Set Up a Reward System
Sure, healthy teeth are their own reward, but creating a game could also stimulate your child’s competitive side. Make a chart that your child can place a sticker on each time they brush their teeth. Then, establish a certain amount of stickers that must be collected before they get a special treat. Try to avoid food-related treats that may be bad for teeth, and instead offer a special outing or favorite story at bedtime as a reward.
Kids have a natural inclination for fun that you can use to encourage healthy dental habits. Start by using a few of these strategies, and remember to mix it up if the routine gets boring. A new toothbrush, flossers in kid-friendly shapes or a flavorful mouthwash can all add a new element to their routine that will pique your kid’s curiosity. By using a little creativity, you can transform tooth brushing time into an activity that your child enjoys. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]