Teaching your children about proper dental hygiene as early as you can helps set them up for life with healthy habits. Kids who don’t brush their teeth will suffer from painful cavities and other conditions that can bother them later in life.
Read on to learn our recommendations on how to help children start brushing even if they’re stubborn about it at first!
Talk to Them
You’ll first want to try communicating with your child about why they don’t like brushing. Maybe the time you usually want them to brush is when they’re focused on one of their favorite tv shows or movies. Perhaps they don’t like the noise the toothbrush makes or the way it feels on your gums.
By determining why your child is having a hard time in a non-confrontational manner, you’ll have an easier time finding ways to make brushing easier for them over time.
Practice What You Preach
The easiest place to start is to practice what you preach. Children love mimicking their parents, and if they see you brushing and flossing your teeth each day, they’re far more likely to do it themselves.
You can help promote the habit by brushing and flossing at the same time each day together. Try to give the activity some excitement and fun by announcing it with a happy tone of voice.
You can also hum along as you brush or make it a game by seeing who brushes the best.
You can make the activity fun for your children by purchasing colorful toothbrushes or ones that feature their favorite tv show or movie characters. Although it’s important to let your children know that the toothbrush isn’t a toy, the upgraded toothbrush will help them feel more excited.
Make sure that the toothbrush you purchase is soft-bristled so that it doesn’t harm your child’s delicate gums.
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. You can help your child remember this by playing their favorite song each time it’s time to brush.
Here are a few recommendations of child-friendly songs that are two minutes long:
- Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys
- Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon – Queen
- Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis
- All Shook Up – Elvis
- Particle Man – They Might Be Giants
- Hit the Road Jack – Ray Charles
- Don’t Get Lost in Heaven – Gorillaz
- And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles
You can find more songs on Spotify by searching for playlists with two-minute songs. Creating a playlist with your child can also be a fun activity for both of you with songs that you both love.
It’s important that your child is using a toothpaste that includes fluoride–you may also want to make sure that it has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. However, your child may not like the taste of toothpaste that you normally use.
If this is the case, look for children’s toothpaste that comes in different flavors such as bubble gum, fruit flavors, and more. Remember to remind them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done and not to eat it!
Your child may be more motivated to brush their teeth if they read books and watch programs that feature characters who encourage healthy teeth brushing habits. Books can often feature characters and plots that children are able to relate to, and you’ll also have a nice bonding moment.
When it comes to TV shows, they may also include fun songs and music that your child will remember when it’s time to brush their teeth!
If your child is having a particularly rough time brushing their teeth, remember that you can also inventive them with fun rewards. This can be as simple as giving them a cute sticker they can add to a notebook each time they brush their teeth on their own.
Once your child is able to collect a certain number of stickers, you can reward them with a fun adventure of their choice or a toy they’ve been coveting.
Focus on Diet
It’s also important to remember to make it easier for your child to have healthy teeth by providing them with a healthy diet. This means to make the majority of their meals with fresh ingredients and avoid pre-packaged meals and snacks that contain lots of added sugars.
It’s important to keep in mind that food isn’t inherently good or bad, you just want to keep the sugary drinks and treats in moderation and reserve them as small snacks. Growing up with healthy teeth also means helping your children have a healthier relationship with food!
Regular Dentist Visits
Last but not least, it’s recommended that your child’s first dentist visit is before their first birthday. Afterward, it’s important to take them regularly.
Although most children will feel naturally afraid of this new environment, you can help make it easier for them by making a “family day” out of dental visits. Plan to go to a park afterward, bike riding, a zoo, or more.
Encourage your children to be honest about their fears with you and try to empathize with them.
Dental Hygiene for Children: All About Consistency
For children to learn dental hygiene for life, it’s all about consistency. For instance, use the same brushing teeth steps and make sure to time your teeth brushing for about two minutes in order to make sure your children are thoroughly brushing.
Remember to make a fun and rewarding activity through playful music, colorful toothbrushes, tasty toothpaste, and more. With this in mind, you’ll make it easier for your child to continue brushing their teeth the right way as an adult.
Ready to schedule an appointment for your child? Call us today to get started!