National Children’s Dental Health Month continues throughout the month of February and is an observance that brings together thousands of dedicated professionals to promote the benefits of good oral health care for children. As parents, you know the importance of pediatric dental care and creating habits that promote good dental hygiene. Unfortunately, children aren’t always the biggest fans of taking care of their teeth, so it may be tough to instill these habits in them.
Most parents can recall that familiar uphill battle of trying to get a child to brush and floss their teeth. Young children are notorious for putting up resistance when a parent tries to brush their teeth for them, and, as they get older and more independent, they are even less willing to accept help. Because young children are so adept at learning new things, making brushing and flossing a positive experience can improve your children’s dental health dramatically.
To help persuade your child to practice good dental hygiene, we have put together a list of tips that will improve your child’s pediatric dental care and help them to develop healthy habits:
Brush and Floss Together
Children tend to mimic what their parents do, so a great way to get your child interested in oral care is to brush and floss together. Not only will this provide an opportunity for your child to learn how to brush properly, but it is also a chance to bond over a simple task. Make this time enjoyable by putting on some music or making up a fun rhyme.
The ADA recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. There are many fun ways that can help ensure your child is brushing long enough. One idea is to get a bright-colored sand timer that will not only get your child excited to brush, but will become a game to make sure they brush until the timer ends. Or you can pick a song to listen to and have some fun while brushing. There are many possibilities to get your child to brush for the recommended time. Children respond well to creativity.
Give Them a Special Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Another tactic to keep your child’s interest in oral hygiene is with a new, fun toothbrush. Purchase a special toothbrush for your child that fits smaller hands and features a color or character that your child likes. At Temple Family Dentistry, we make brushing fun with themed toothbrushes like Winnie the Pooh and Transformers. The same sentiment goes for picking out toothpaste. Your child may not be interested in your minty toothpaste, but they will look forward to cleaning their teeth with their own strawberry or watermelon flavored toothpaste.
Reward Good Habits
Teach your child that a little work each day pays off when it comes to dental care. To make brushing and flossing feel like more than just a chore, create a reward system. You can use gold stars or charts to track their progress. When they reach their goals, reward them with something fun—just not sugary drinks or candy!
Use Videos to Make Brushing More Engaging
Youtube has some great videos targeted towards children, like this Brush to the Beat music video featuring Mickey Mouse. Finding videos that are designed to teach children how to properly brush their teeth makes the learning process engaging and minimizes future trips to the dentist office for cavities or gingivitis. Your children will love these videos so much that they may even look forward to brushing.
For children, developing good brushing and flossing habits are the building blocks for great oral care, and will keep your child out of the dentist office. To teach these healthy habits, employ the five tips listed above. By investing the time now, you can help promote great dental care that lasts a lifetime. If you have any further questions about children’s dental health or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.