Every February is National Childhood Dental Health Month, when the American Dental Association emphasizes the importance of children’s dentistry. Keeping children and parents informed about the proper ways to brush their teeth ensures that their oral health remains in optimal condition.
But getting your young children to brush can be difficult. Kids often find brushing boring or uncomfortable and find ways to cut corners or completely avoid brushing their teeth. Starting bad habits at a young age can lead to poor dental health in the future, and no one wants that for their kids Today, Dr. Matthew Huff of Precision Dentistry & Implants is here to offer tips and tricks on ways to make brushing more fun for your little ones.
Get A Fun Toothbrush And Toothpaste
Children’s toothbrushes come in a variety of fun styles. Disney characters, superheroes and racecars adorn the handle and packaging, making the toothbrush aisle look more and more like the toy aisle. Bring your child with you and let them help you pick out their toothbrush. They might be more excited to brush their teeth if their brush feels like a fun toy!
Children’s toothpaste can also come in plenty of fun flavors and colors. Letting them choose a flavor that they like will ensure that the taste of toothpaste doesn’t turn them away.
It is important to choose a toothbrush and toothpaste that suits their needs. Use a brush with soft bristles and a small head, as this will be easier on your child’s delicate teeth and gums. Their toothpaste should contain a small amount of fluoride. If your child is younger than 2, use only a smear of toothpaste, and then switch to a pea-sized amount after their 2nd birthday.
Make Up A Teeth Brushing Game
Transform brushing time from a chore into an event. Devising a game involving their toothbrush will help everything seem more exciting. Challenge them to get all of the plaque and food from their teeth before two minutes are up.
If they have siblings, use their healthy sibling rivalry to your advantage to start a cavity-fighting competition. Keep a tally chart to see who fought the most “sugar bugs” or “cavity monsters.”
Set Up A Rewards System
Incentivize healthy habits with rewards. Keep a chart tracking the number of days that your child brushes their teeth for a full two minutes without complaint. After a certain amount of time, reward them with a small treat from the store or an extended bed time. You know your child best, so select a healthy reward that works best for them!
Make Up An Epic Story
Crafting a story can entice your child to brush their teeth and make it a fun event. Tell them that there are evil “teeth attackers” attacking their teeth, and as a superhero it’s their job to defend them. Put them at the center of the story, and make it imperative that they take immediate action against these monsters.
Keep It Positive
It may be tempting to threaten your child with brushing, but it is important to maintain a positive and healthy attitude toward oral care to keep things fun. Don’t tell your child that if they don’t brush, they will have to see the dentist and get their teeth pulled, as they will begin to associate the dentist with fear.
Brushing, as well as visiting the dentist, should be positive lifelong habits. Play music in the bathroom while your child brushes their teeth. Their favorite song will keep the mood upbeat and fun. Emphasize that brushing keeps their teeth healthy, bright and strong. Instilling that idea at a young age makes it more likely to persist into adulthood.
Make It A Family Activity
Involving the entire family can make brushing feel more fun and important. Especially if your child is of toddler-age, letting them mimic your actions is helpful.
Have one parent brush the other’s teeth. Let your child brush your teeth! Let them see how it should be done. When their idol (you!) practices proper habits, it is more likely that they will want to brush their teeth properly too.
The best thing that you can do for your child’s dental health is teach them why brushing their teeth is so important. Explain to them that germs and plaque can cause cavities. Show them that having healthy teeth equates to being able to eat their favorite foods and smile with confidence at school picture day!
Let Us Brush Their Teeth
Your child’s smile is important to us here at Precision Dentistry & Implants. Teaching them good oral health habits at a young age increases the likelihood of having healthy teeth as adults. Get your family’s dental health on the right track by making an appointment with Dr. Huff today!