Developing good oral hygiene habits is something that should be ingrained from a young age. Oral hygiene habits such as brushing teeth at least two times a day, daily flossing, and regular dental checkups help prevent oral health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth infection.
However, it’s not easy developing these habits in kids, since they often view such things as boring chores. That means you need to get creative and come up with fun ideas so your child is all smiles when it’s dental care time. Here are some practical, exciting preventative care tips to try out.
While ordinary toothpaste is quite effective at keeping our mouths healthy, your child might find them boring. Instead, their eyes are more likely to light up if you buy gum-flavored toothpaste with a deep purple color and sparkles, for instance. Many such toothpaste brands are available in the market, and most are tested and safe for consumption.
Eating dinner is not the only thing you can do as a family. Incorporating your children into your daily oral care is important, especially since kids learn by watching you. So let your kids observe you closely while you brush your teeth. Brag about your excellent brushing technique, teach them how to do it, and then challenge them to do it better. Help them with things like flossing until they get the hang of it.
They say you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink. Nagging your children doesn’t work, especially if you’re leaving them little choice. What you need to do is meet your kids halfway by letting them choose a toothbrush or toothpaste that works for them (within reason). Take them to the grocery store with you – this trip can be a fun event all on its own! If children recognize their responsibility – i.e., they picked a toothpaste and toothbrush, and now they have to use it – they will be more enthusiastic when complying with your requests.
It’s best to help your child choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid toothpaste that contains sugar. Make sure the toothpaste contains fluoride, a mineral that strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay.
Brushing your teeth for two minutes, up to two times a day, is a top recommendation when it comes to oral preventative care. However, it’s normal for kids to rush through things and be done in 30 seconds. Having a timer ensures your child is brushing their teeth long enough to make a difference. After a while, two minutes will feel like the perfect length of time to brush teeth.
When it comes to teaching your child good oral habits, it’s a case of catching more flies with sugar instead of vinegar. Nothing gets a child more excited or compliant than a pat on the back, a word of praise, or a small, tangible reward, such as a toy. You can even award gold stars or use a points system that offers a worthwhile reward or privilege once a specific level has been reached.
Sometimes getting your kids to brush their teeth regularly isn’t the only goal. It’s better if they also understand why they have to do it. You can ask for their help in making a colorful chart showing healthy teeth and show them how bacteria can cause cavities.
Dental visits are essential to your child’s health, but they can sometimes make kids nervous because they don’t know what to expect. The trick is to make the whole experience more positive, so your child doesn’t get cold feet when it’s time for a dental visit. You can add a fun activity such as a trip to the park or the zoo afterward. Allow your child to bring a comfort item with them or a fun activity they’re familiar with, such as a coloring book, to the dentist’s office. These fun activities will hopefully make dental visits easier because of the positive association.
If your child needs a dental checkup for preventative care, look no further than the friendly pediatric dentists at Smilez Pediatric Group. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.