The best way to help your kids to have healthy teeth and gums that last a lifetime is to instill proper dental hygiene habits at a young age. Unfortunately, getting children to brush on their own is not always easy. To make this activity more fun for your kids, Dr. Lance Porter and Dr. Will Warren offer the following suggestions:
Standing in one place silently can be boring for anyone, especially for kids who crave entertainment. Many parents have found success by playing a favorite song during the brushing routine. If your child wants to dance around a little while the song plays, that’s not a bad thing so long as the brushing continues at the same time.
A song is also useful because it establishes a certain length of time for the teeth to be brushed. Some kids feel like they are done after 15 seconds of brushing rather than the recommended two minutes. When they brush until the song is done, then they know the job is complete.
If incentives work for your child, you can develop a reward system that has your child excited to brush without complaints. Given that toothbrushing should be a twice a day activity, the rewards should not be something that breaks the bank. Instead think of small or free rewards like a sticker, a story before bed or the ability to choose his or her outfit for the day.
To incorporate larger rewards, you can make a chart that tracks your child’s progress when brushing their teeth. After accumulating enough check marks, the child has earned the toy or privilege he or she has been working toward.
Have the Child Pick Out the Toothpaste
Kids’ toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and often feature beloved fictional characters on the packaging. To help children buy into the process more, bring them to the store and have them help pick out the kind of toothpaste they want to use. If you want a little more control over the process, you can always limit the choice to a few different (pre-approved) options. Kids usually seem more excited to brush when they like the flavor or the animated character.
Brush with Your Child
Young children love to do activities with their parents. When you brush at the same time as your children, not only does it model good behavior, but it also serves a bonding experience. By establishing a routine of brushing together, you become accountable to each other.
Moreover, children love to feel grown up. When toothbrushing is presented as an adult activity, children are more likely to want to take on this responsibility and understand the importance of continuing it for the rest of their lives.
Schedule a Dental Appointment for Your Kids
Porter Dental Health Clinic provides dentistry to the entire family, including children. We understand how to communicate with your children about the importance of brushing to help make the process easier for you, the parent. To schedule an appointment, please call (501) 624-2778 today.