While it isn’t always easy to encourage kids to brush and floss, it is definitely worth the effort. Establishing good oral hygiene early on will help youngsters preserve more of their natural teeth throughout the years. Fortunately, there are a number of fun, simple strategies that you can use to get your children excited about this portion of their self-care.
Brushing is far less of a chore when it’s something that the two of you can do together. Parents should always model the oral hygiene habits that they want their children to adopt. You can turn on music and dance around a bit while you brush. This is a great way to ensure that little ones are taking adequate time to brush all tooth surfaces thoroughly.
Invest in a Fun Toothbrush
Toothbrushes have become increasingly exciting throughout the years. Parents can invest in light-up toothbrushes, brushes that make music and options that feature popular cartoon characters. Let your child participate in the selection process to increase the appeal of a new brush. You can also find matching floss picks and coordinating mouthwash for a complete set.
Consider Taste When Purchasing Toothpaste
While you probably spend a considerable amount of time searching for toothpastes that have adequate fluoride and reasonable prices, you should really be looking for one that has an age-appropriate taste. Look for bubblegum, strawberry or wild-berry flavors. Kids are often reticent to use peppermint and spearmint brands given that these flavors can come across as too hot to young, delicate palates.
Show Kids the Ravages of Poor Dental Hygiene
It never hurts to give kids a dose of reality, especially when they are lax in brushing and flossing their teeth. Companies like the Art of Dentistry Institute often have helpful informational resources and visuals on their web pages that parents can use to educate their children. Learning more about cavities, tooth loss, dental implants and other terms that kids will need to know if they don’t improve their oral hygiene can increase their resolve to take care of the teeth they currently have.
Create a Chart for Rewards
Give your child a gold star each time he or she brushes her teeth. This star can be posted on a rewards chart that hangs on the bathroom door. Special incentives, no matter how small they may be, will keep kids motivated and encouraged. Parents should refrain from including candy or other sweet treats in their rewards systems.
Buy the Right Flossers
String floss is often too difficult for small hands to manage. Consider investing in bright-colored flossers that have kid-appropriate handles instead. Having tools that they can use without help will give kids a greater sense of autonomy. Feelings of independence will in turn engender a greater sense of personal responsibility.
Equipped with sound information and the right oral hygiene tools, kids can get excited about their oral care. Parents can join in by modeling good brushing and flossing habits. They can also stand by to ensure that kids are doing the job right as they become increasingly independent in these efforts.