We all know how important good dental hygiene is, especially for our children. Even before their adult teeth come in, the health of their smile is determined by good habits and proper cleaning. Getting your kids to take care of their teeth can be a chore, especially since brushing is usually done in the morning and before bed, which are two of the busiest times in most households.
Here are a few easy ideas to help make brushing and flossing a familiar routine and a habit that they will carry on for the rest of their lives. Since oral health is an important part of overall wellness, these habits are sure to benefit your children into adulthood.
Let Them Choose Their Own Toothbrush
Gone are the days of boring toothbrushes. Now children can find a toothbrush with just about any character on it, from cartoons to movie superheroes. There are brushes covered in glitter, brushes with cool designs, and even brushes that play music! When a child feels like the brush is her or his “own,” they will be more likely to use it. Keep the toothbrush in a special place, so that your child sees how important it is.
But Make Sure it Fits
While you should give your child a choice in brushes, do check the label to make sure that the brush they choose is designed to fit a child’s mouth. Often children will try to use an adult-sized brush, only to find that it is uncomfortable and unpleasant. An adult-sized brush will also be unable to adequately reach all of the spots within your child’s mouth. Children’s brushes will be clearly labeled as such, so just check the label when you shop.
Watch Videos Together
Even if your child is willing to brush his or her teeth, it can be difficult to make sure that it gets done right. The dentists at Pier Dental Centre can give your child a helpful, hands-on demonstration, but once you’re home, you can reinforce these lessons by watching videos online together. These videos can make brushing and flossing cool while teaching the importance of proper technique. Best of all, your kids can watch the videos as many times as is necessary, instead of giving up when things get difficult. Here’s one to get you started:
Get Kid-Sized Dental Floss
Flossing is just as important as brushing, if not more so, but it’s often overlooked by children rushing to finish their routine. Just as they can choose an appropriate-sized toothbrush, your children can choose a fun, kid-sized dental floss. While the traditional floss will work in a pinch, kids often find it easier to use portable, one-hand, disposable dental flossers. Fortunately, these also come in smaller sizes that are perfect for fitting into little mouths. Let your child choose their favorite color and show them exactly how to work the flosser. Encourage them to floss after every day, even if they aren’t able to brush.
Sing Brushing and Flossing Songs Together
Preschool teachers and kids’ television shows agree: the easiest way to teach a child is through song. To make brushing and flossing more fun, incorporate songs along with their routine. You can find tooth-brushing tunes online, or make up your own. You can even pick a familiar favorite and just change the words to fit your theme. For example, “The Wheels on the Bus” can become “The Floss and the Brush.” Let your child help with the lyrics and have a good time with it. Not only will singing each time you brush keep things fun, it can also be used as a timer to remind your child how long they need to brush. It only takes a few weeks to establish a positive habit that will last throughout their childhood, and, hopefully, for the rest of their lives.