You can help your child enjoy a healthy smile by making oral hygiene fun and exciting. By making flossing, brushing and trips to the dentist a positive experience, your child will learn early on that proper dental care is important.
Brush as a Team
Setting aside time together as a family goes beyond recreational activities such as reading to a child, biking and baking. As a parent, you should also instill important habits early on such as good dental hygiene. An important way to hold your child’s interest is to floss and brush together as a team. Children often mimic things their parents do, so you want to set a good example. Begin by teaching them the basics such as the right brushing technique. After you’ve finished brushing, follow up with flossing. Help them through the process until they’re old enough to handle the job on their own. To boost their excitement during this exercise, make up a funny song or rhyme about keeping their teeth sparkly clean.
Make Your Initial Dental Visit
Your child will need to learn the importance of routine dental checkups early on to prevent cavities and enjoy a healthy smile. As their oral health needs change, their dental facility will be able to provide other services such as cleanings, braces, sports guards or extractions. As soon as your child’s teeth begin to break through the gums, you want to make the initial dental visit. Keep it short and simple at the start, so your child has time to acclimate to the new surroundings. As they get used to the process, you can incorporate exams, cleanings and other needed work into the visits. Allowing the child to bring their favorite stuffed toy or book to the appointment can help elevate the mood.
Find a Fun Toothbrush
To hold your child’s interest and make teeth brushing fun, let them choose their own fun brush. Today’s choices can run from colorful and soft to one’s with their favorite cartoon character such as Mickey Mouse, Dora, SpongeBob or Dory. Depending on your child’s age, they may also be able to handle the motorized toothbrush varieties.
Watch the Time
The amount of time spent brushing your teeth and amount per day can vary. While some experts may say it’s important to brush after every meal, the American Dental Association recommends twice each day and for approximately two minutes. To ensure that your child is spending the required time, you can set a timer on your smartphone or tablet. You can also select a fun timer with a bell that dings or sings a song when they’re finished.
Flavored Toothpaste and Floss
Even your child’s dental floss and toothpaste can be a fun dental experience for them when you vary the flavors. Adult toothpaste with a strong minty flavor may be too pungent for such a sensitive mouth. From watermelon and strawberry to bubblegum and grape, let them have a voice in picking out their toothpaste and dental floss.
Videos and Entertainment
Your local library or online book store may have a wide selection of material that encourages your child to practice healthy dental habits. Begin with a fun cartoon video that teaches children about the proper techniques to brush and floss their teeth. They may also have material that can show them what a visit to the dentist office will be like.
A reward system where you gift your child with a gold star for flossing, brushing their teeth, visits to the dentist and eating healthy treats can be a fun way to learn about dental care. As your child completes each task, let them place the sticker on the board.
Teaching your child the importance of good dental care early on helps set good habits that they can take into their adult years. Although brushing and flossing may seem mundane to a child, the above tips will add fun and excitement to the daily routine.