Does your child cry every time you approach them with a toothbrush?
Or maybe they don’t mind the process, but you’re looking to increase their self-sufficiency so they’ll brush their teeth without supervision. Here are just 11 tips for encouraging good oral hygiene from your kids.
1: Make It Fun
No child is excited by the thought of grey fluoride-free toothpaste.
If you invest in a bright blue or fizzy pink toothpaste, on the other hand, they might look forward to brushing their teeth even if you aren’t there to direct them.
2: Think Themes
Children who hate their dental routine may find it a bit more comfortable if they have a friend like Iron Man or Hello Kitty there. You can buy floss, toothpaste, toothbrushes and even toothbrush holders decorated with popular characters.
3: Go Electric
If they aren’t overly thrilled by the presence of SpongeBob, take things even further by buying them a high-powered, battery-operated electric toothbrush. Stress that it’s a grownup toothbrush that isn’t for babies.
Wonder out loud if they can handle it.
4: Choose the Right Dentist
Tired of tantrums when it’s time for a clean? Look for a specialist in pediatric dentistry. They’ll have a bright, colorful office with friendly staff members who can set your child’s mind at ease.
They might even have a bowl with sugar-free candy!
5: Keep Your Visits Regular
Your child can be taken to the dentist as early as age two. If you make it a non-event, an annual trip rather than a special one when teeth break or cavities form, you can nip dentophobia in the bud before it even begins.
6: Encourage Spitting
Many parents have trouble getting their children to spit out mouthwash; their natural inclination is to swallow it. Try making it a game and see if that helps. Clean, healthy gums are worth a little clean-up around the sink.
7: Experiment With Textures
Tongue scrapers aren’t nearly as scary as they sound. In fact, if you sell them right, you can convince your child that they’re a fun treat.
This is because they come in different shapes, colours and textures that young children will love to play with after brushing.
8: Make It A Habit
Don’t ever plant the idea that brushing their teeth is something they need to make time for during a busy morning. Don’t ever let them skip it.
Establish it as a habit and a necessity, the same as taking baths or getting dressed for school.
9: Allow Silliness
Again, it’s better to deal with a little mess now than an expensive trip to the dentist later. Try not to make a fuss if your child gets through their dental routine by bouncing, dancing or hopping on one foot until the chore is complete.
10: Sing A Song
Most experts recommend at least 2-3 minutes of teeth brushing for optimal oral hygiene. Most experts don’t have children. If your wiggly, impatient first grader refuses to stand still that long, encourage them to sing a song while brushing. Tell them that they can only stop once they’ve made it through an entire rendition of “Let It Go.”
When all else fails, you can always resort to bribery.
Give them a reward for every piece of used floss they bring out of the bathroom. Offer 25 cents a piece for brushing, flossing, gargling and rinsing the sink afterward, so they’ll only get a dollar if they do it all.
These are just 11 tips for encouraging good dental hygiene from your children. Remember, the best habits are ones that are encouraged early, so don’t wait for a vague tomorrow to establish a better brushing routine. Start doing it tonight.
Do you have anything that works with your kids?