It’s important for kids to learn good oral hygiene habits at an early age. Learning how to brush and floss their teeth properly helps your child develop lifelong healthy habits and works to prevent oral health issues, such as gingivitis and cavities.
It’s not always easy to teach kids good oral hygiene habits, but thankfully, there are some easy ways to make brushing and flossing fun for your kids, which will help ensure they continue these good habits as they grow older.
1. Let Your Child Observe as You Care for Your Teeth
Children learn a lot of new things by watching others, and they often mimic their parents. Try letting your kids watch as you brush and floss your teeth at night. Doing so allows you to give them a hands-on demonstration of the process so you can ensure they learn it the right way.
Don’t forget, dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice per day for two minutes each time. Some toothbrushes come with a timer built-in, but you can also set a timer in your bathroom to ensure your kids are brushing for the recommended amount of time. When you’re demonstrating the brushing process, be sure to set your own timer to reiterate how important the two-minute rule is. Once you’re done brushing, don’t forget to demonstrate the proper flossing technique.
2. Allow Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth to Music
Brushing with a timer might not appeal to every child. If your kids are getting bored with the traditional timer and find it hard to keep brushing for a solid two minutes, try playing one of their favorite songs to pass the time. You may even be able to find a catchy song about brushing teeth that you can play to entertain your child while also teaching them proper brushing and flossing techniques. Children have a tendency to remember lyrics easily, so teaching them through song may be a quick and easy way for them to learn proper oral hygiene habits.
3. Make Sure Your Kids are Eating Healthy
Tooth decay happens when the enamel, or the outside layer of your teeth, begins to erode. If this problem goes unattended, it can lead to cavities. The most common cause of tooth decay is sugar. Your teeth are largely impacted by what you eat, so make sure that you’re encouraging your children to eat healthy foods. Allowing them to indulge in lots of sugary foods too often can cause oral health problems.
Not only does encouraging good eating habits to reduce the number of cavities and long term oral health problems your child will have to suffer from, but it also ensures they will grow into strong and healthy adults.
4. Use a Reward System
When your child brushes their teeth properly, reward them for a job well done. Giving out incentives helps encourage good oral health behaviors. Be sure to avoid sugary rewards. While every kid enjoys sweets, giving them out as rewards for good oral hygiene habits might risk undoing all of your hard work since they are the most common cause of tooth decay. Rewards should be small in the beginning and should not be given out daily. Start by giving your child prizes for brushing and flossing for one week straight and then keep increasing the threshold from there.
5. Lead By Example
You may feel too tired some nights to brush your teeth, or you may feel too rushed in the morning to practice proper oral hygiene, but when your kids are watching, be sure to lead by example and take the time to properly brush and floss your teeth morning and night.
It’s also important to be enthusiastic about the teeth cleaning process. Be energetic as you brush your teeth and get excited when your child begins brushing their teeth. Cheer them on and give positive feedback to make the experience fun and less stressful for them.
6. Use Kids’ Toothpaste, Floss, and Other Oral Care Products
Avoid picking out a boring, plain toothbrush for your child to use when they’re learning how to brush their teeth. Instead, choose a fun brush with their favorite character or design so they will look forward to the whole process. Some toothbrushes made for children even come with sing-along features that make brushing even more fun.
When purchasing toothpaste, be sure to select a fun flavor that your kids will like and avoid mint. Look for a paste that has fluoride in it, as this will help prevent cavities from forming in your child’s teeth.
7. Make Brushing a Game
Kids won’t even realize brushing is a chore if you make it a fun game. Purchase apps, tooth painting kits, or other games to make the process exciting for your child. These games are not only super fun, but they also incorporate some useful oral health information for your child so they can have fun while learning how to properly care for their teeth and gums.
8. Choose the Right Dentist
Going for dental check-ups can be a nightmare if you don’t have the right dentist. You don’t want a dentist or hygienist who is just there to perform regular cleaning but can make the process relaxing and interesting for children. Be sure to select someone who easily interacts with your child and makes the entire process less daunting. Look for a dentist that advertises family dentistry like Sierra Dental and calls ahead to talk to those in their office. They’re generally happy to discuss what they do specifically to make children feel welcome and eager to visit the dentist.
Oral hygiene is something that has to be instilled in a child early on. While it can be a long and grueling process, there are some surefire ways to make it fun and engaging for your kids. It may take some work, but in the long run, your child will develop healthy habits and a radiant smile that will stay with them for life.