Encouraging and developing healthy oral hygiene habits early in life is an important part of maintaining our general and oral health as we get older. But for most parents, getting kids to brush their teeth twice a day can be a huge chore, and you can forget about getting them to floss regularly.
Developing good oral health habits at an early age is essential, and it can be done. It’s never too late to instill those good dental habits with your kids, and there are several ways you can encourage your kids to brush and floss daily, and some might even be fun. Our team at Smiles 4 Kids hope these ideas help.
Children mimic the behavior of their parents, so be sure to set a good example when it comes to maintaining your oral health. Brush and floss your teeth with your child, and offer gentle and encouraging instruction on how to brush properly. Have fun and don’t be afraid to get a little silly.
It’s also important to withhold your true feelings about visiting the dentist. If your child sees you dreading your appointment or overhears you saying that you hate the dentist, chances are they will, too. Make a trip to the dentist fun and celebrate when good oral hygiene habits pay off.
Brushing for two minutes is the best way to ensure that all the surfaces of the teeth are clean, but when you’re a kid two minutes can seem like forever. Play a song for two minutes while brushing to serve as a fun timer. This will not only make the time pass faster, but will also help ensure they are brushing adequately.
Purchase fun toothbrushes for your child in their favorite color or character. There are several fun toothbrush designs out there that were created with this purpose in mind. It’s okay to have more than one toothbrush, just be sure they are being cycled out when it’s time.
In hand with fun toothbrushes, there are several kid-friendly toothpastes on the market in fun flavors to encourage brushing. Let your child help pick out their toothpaste in the store, and consider having multiple flavors so they can choose one when it’s time to brush.
Parents can also offer rewards for practicing good dental habits. Keep a dental chart in the bathroom and establish goals and rewards for brushing regularly. There are several fun downloadable and printable charts available online. What you choose to reward is up to you (we advise against sugary treats), so long as your child can appreciate it. Rewards can be as simple as watching their favorite movie or playing their favorite game. Celebrate and encourage good habits.
Kids should visit the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. Even if you’ve made the dentist sound like the greatest thing ever, chances are your child will still have fears and anxiety about their visit. Help them understand what their visit will be like by role-playing or playing dentist. Let them know what to expect.
Dental instruments can be scary for both kids and adults, so if your child has any fears or anxiety, let the staff know and they will take extra care to ensure your child is comfortable. Most dentists’ offices are prepared to handle kids and are trained to make them feel at ease.
Practicing good oral hygiene at a young age can help instill good habits throughout your child’s lifetime. Not only will your child’s teeth be happy and healthy, but they will also be less likely to develop more serious dental and overall health problems later in life.