Establishing regular brushing and flossing habits at an early age is essential to prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy gums. However, getting kids to brush at least twice a day can be a struggle. Whether it’s the taste of the toothpaste or just because brushing is a bore, it’s important to overcome this opposition to brushing and encourage a daily oral health routine. Like many routine tasks, brushing can be made fun for your children.
Shop for Products with Your Child’s Favorite Characters
Small children get excited about seeing their favorite cartoon characters on the items they own. An excellent way to encourage your child to brush without a battle is by choosing a toothbrush that has your child’s favorite TV or movie character, or by bringing your child to the store and allowing him or her to pick out a new toothbrush.
Create a Dental Reward System for a Job Well Done
Reward systems can be highly effective when used diligently by parents. Create a chart and place a sticker or checkmark each time that your child brushes. When your child hits a certain milestone, provide a reward, such as extra screen time or a trip to the zoo. Avoid rewards that could further harm your child’s smile, like sugary candy or pop.
Incorporate Fun Music into the Brushing Routine
Music is an excellent motivator for children and adds an enjoyable sensory component to an otherwise dull task. Your kid’s favorite song can also double as a timer, telling your child exactly how long he or she needs to brush. Have the song saved to your cellphone or sing it as your child brushes. Alternatively, you may purchase a musical toothbrush that plays a tune for the recommended two minutes as your child brushes.
Turn Brushing into an Adventure Game
Many children enjoy adventure games and playing make-believe. Use your creativity to create a story about the “sugar bugs” that live in your child’s mouth that can only be defeated with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Have your child choose a superhero name for himself and provide a prop or two, such as a cape.
Set a Good Example by Brushing Alongside Your Child
Children often want to do the things they see their parents and siblings doing, and that includes brushing their teeth. Show your child that you understand the importance of brushing twice a day by brushing alongside him or her at the sink. In fact, you can make it a family affair by having all of your children take turns brushing each morning and evening.
Let Your Child Have Some Control
One of the biggest challenges that come with teeth brushing pertains to control. Toddlers in particular are at an age where they want to do everything themselves. It’s important for parents to let go of some control and allow their kids to participate in the tooth brushing process. Watch to see how your child brushes and take over when the time is right to get any spots they might have missed.
Bring in Toys and Books About Tooth Brushing
Brushing can sometimes feel like an uncomfortable experience for small children who are not used to this unique sensation. It can be helpful to bring in toys to make the process less scary. Start by brushing the “teeth” of a doll or stuffed animal while talking about the importance of brushing in words that your child can understand. Also, consider reading age-appropriate books about oral health to your little one.
Switch to a Better Tasting Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Not everyone enjoys the fresh mint taste of traditional toothpastes. If your child complains about the taste of toothpaste, consider switching to a children’s toothpaste in a more palatable flavor, such as bubblegum. Other children’s products are also on the market in kid-friendly flavors, such as mouthwash and floss.
Contact Your Melbourne Florida Dentist, We Can Help Make Dental Cleaning Fun
Along with a good at-home oral health routine, you’ll want to bring your child to see a Melbourne FL dentist at least every six months for a dental teeth cleaning. Contact the friendly team at Artistic Touch Dentistry today to schedule your next visit.