Parents have their hands full teaching kids a variety of basic hygiene habits. Brushing teeth is one of those that can be especially challenging. One reason is that families are often rushed in the morning with little time to do everything they should, including dental hygiene. Another reason is that many kids don’t like to stay still long enough to brush. Here are four easy tips for reminding your little ones to care for their teeth.
Make It Fun
Depending on your child’s age, choose fun and creative dental items to work with. Theme-specific toothbrushes are a great way to grab kids’ interest, along with colorful dental floss and mouth rinse, if the dentist recommends it. Arrange the dental care items in a visible area in the bathroom, like on the sink counter space or on an accessible shelf. For younger kids, you could play a catchy tune on a CD that alerts them to the fact it’s time to get ready for bed, including teeth brushing time.
Set an Example
Let your children see you take good care of your teeth. Brush twice daily or after every meal. Floss at least once each day. Use dentist-recommended tools and supplies for thorough hygienic care of your teeth and mouth. When the kids see the importance you place on dental care and that your teeth look good, without cavities, and no evidence of problems, they are likely to follow your example.
For kids who are stubborn or resistant to dental care, or if they keep forgetting, consider offering an incentive. You might allow five extra minutes of playtime or reading time before bed if they get their teeth brushed by a certain time. Choose an incentive that is age-oriented and applicable to dental care. For example, offering a sweet treat for compliance can counter the good that comes with conscientious dental care.
Get Dental Checkups
Dentists and dental organizations typically recommend dental care services for everyone about twice a year. An exam often includes X-rays, a visual inspection of the mouth and teeth, and a professional cleaning by a hygienist. Typically, the dentist or a dental assistant will explain helpful teeth-brushing tips. They will help kids understand why dental care is important and how to do it properly. This information will reinforce professionally what you are teaching the kids at home.
Dental care is an important, life-long habit that should be started when children are old enough to manage a daily routine. Ask your dentist when the best time to start is as well as the best dental care products for kids to use.