Parents understand the importance of brushing and flossing and the potential problems associated with poor oral care, but kids don’t have the same fears and concerns. While this fearlessness is great when it comes to battling dragons in their storybooks, it can be a harder battle when plaque or tooth decay are involved.
Getting creative and making oral hygiene less of a chore and more of a night time routine will help guarantee your child’s teeth stay healthy well into adulthood. Even though your child may lose their baby teeth, there are some major health issues that can arise if your child does not brush or floss regularly, even at a young age.
Making brushing fun will ensure your child has healthy teeth and great oral care habits for years to come. Here are some tips to keep brushing enjoyable that even adults can benefit from too!
Tips To Make Brushing Fun
Get Them Involved In The Process!
Let your child pick out their toothbrush. This way, it will feel more personalized to them and they will feel an attachment to their cool new brush. If your child is 3 or older, they can use an electric brush. If they are under 3, have them pick out a manual, soft bristle brush. On average, your child’s first erupted tooth comes in at 6 months — ensure that you take good care of their teeth from the start, and build a routine that they can grow into as they become a big kid and start wanting to do things on their own.
Choose A Good Tasting Toothpaste
Children are very picky when it comes to flavors, so make sure to choose one that appeals to their taste buds. Children’s toothpaste comes in many tasty flavors like strawberry, watermelon and even bubble gum. Try a couple out and see which one they really enjoy. Always make sure to have them spit and not swallow the toothpaste after brushing.
Make It A Family Activity
Children naturally watch and mimic adult behaviors as they are constantly learning and growing. Making night time brushing a family activity you all do together is a good teaching device and brings you closer as a family as well. Brushing and flossing every day with your children teaches them consistency and since they look up to you the most, you will be their dental hygiene role model that will resonate with them into adulthood.
Practice Brushing At Playtime
You don’t only have to teach children how to brush at nighttime in the bathroom. During playtime, have them practice brushing a beloved toy or stuffed animal. Let your child play-brush your teeth and the fun aspect of brushing will stick with them when it comes to the real thing. Not every night time will be playful and easy, but making brushing not seem like a rigid chore will definitely help keep smiles on faces (and keep them brighter as well!)
Reward Good Habits
While no one can afford to take their children to Disneyland every time they have a successful brush and floss night, rewarding kids for a job well done is very effective. Try small rewards like a walk to the park or their favorite healthy snack. Maybe you can sing along to one of their favorite movies for the 200th time EXTRA loud. No matter how small, just showing them appreciation for what they did will make them feel pride in their achievement. Tangible rewards can be infrequent, but just make sure verbal recognition of a job well done is given every time if you can.
Make The Dentist An Enjoyable Trip
The dentist for a child can be a scary place, so making sure you find a dentist that is good with children is a MUST. A pediatric dentist is always recommended as they have extra training to work with children and can make their appointment easier on kids and parents alike.
A pediatric dentist’s office will have toys, games and magazines that will appeal to children as well. A personable and caring dentist that you are comfortable following your children into adolescence will help make your child comfortable and less nervous about their dentist checkups and cleanings every six months. Even primary teeth need cleaning and care every six months, so starting early is a must.
Kids love games of all kinds. They probably reach for your phone a dozen times a day to try and play or download apps. Make brushing extra entertaining by downloading tooth brushing games and apps that will help them learn as well as play at the same time. This makes their screen time productive as well as fun.
Flossing Is Brushing’s Best Friend
Always make sure your child is flossing nightly as well as brushing. Flossing is just as important and can help keep cavities away from your child’s primary teeth. Starting flossing at an early age will help keep their teeth and gums healthy while their permanent teeth are growing in.
Looking For A Quality Pediatric Dentist?
At Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry, we take pride in creating and maintaining healthy smiles for our younger patients with an environment that is fun and comfortable. We focus on establishing oral health habits that last a lifetime, with education and prevention as our primary tools.
We offer many services and options no matter what your child’s oral health care needs are. Your child’s comfort and wellness are top priority. Give us a call or visit us online today to set up an appointment for your child and see the difference that a great pediatric dentist can make.