Making sure that your child learns the habit of brushing two times a day is no simple task. It requires time, patience, and even sometimes, creativity, in order for you to establish this habit for your child. But we know that brushing and taking care of one’s teeth is an essential life skill that our kids need to learn. And the earlier these are instilled in our kids, the more likely the habit of proper dental hygiene will stay with them as they grow older.
Proper dental hygiene is a daily battle worth fighting, so to speak. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, tooth decay remains to be the most common chronic disease among children. Poor dental hygiene has been attributed to various health complications, from simple dental pain to more complicated diabetes. Simply put, oral health is linked to overall health.
To help you in you and your child establish good dental hygiene, your dentists at Kidsmile prepared a list of practical tips to make the habit more enjoyable and fun for the entire family.
Make It A Family Time
You can come up with activities to do while brushing and flossing to make the activity more enjoyable. To establish the need to brush for two full minutes, you can play your child’s favorite song for two minutes, or have the classic sand timer to watch as a brush. You can also play the mirror game the next time you and your child brush together, and encourage him or her to mimic your every move. Another suggestion is to make up a rhyme about keeping teeth clean or have a mini-dance party while you and your child brush. With technology now, there are also several free apps available that help to make brushing enjoyable for our kids. Try them and see which one works for your family.
Simply Share a Story
Experts say using something relatable, like a story, is a great way to encourage unwilling kids to participate in brushing. Making up a story about animals and other inanimate objects and relate them with the teeth and mouth can be a fun twist to brushing. Stories such as the sugar bugs, animals hiding in between the teeth, or a superhero chasing cavity-causing bad guys, will surely be a hit with your child. It will give you giggles as you both finish the task. You may also try reading a story about teeth and gum care.
Especially with parents who have younger kids, whatever you do, just try to be creative and switch things up a bit so that brushing and flossing time is always a good family time.
Try Positive Reinforcement
Another interesting tip is to create a reward system for brushing and flossing, or combined with the other personal hygiene activities that your child need to learn or do. This will help make brushing and flossing something more than just a task for him or her. You can make a reward chart to track your child’s progress. Paste a sticker or a star whenever your child finishes brushing his or her teeth. When your child completes the chart goals, reward him or her with something teeth-friendly and fun. Sometimes, even a simple “I’m so proud of you” coupled with a huge high five will already motivate your child.
Let them Shop
Another means to keep your child’s enthusiasm up for this daily habit is a new, fun toothbrush. When it’s time to buy a new toothbrush for your child, bring him or her them along and allow your child to choose. Let him or she get a colorful, animal-themed toothbrush, or one with your child’s favorite cartoon character. If your child chooses an electric toothbrush, be sure to get one that plays music, buzzes, or lights up when two minutes are over. Adopt the same approach with the toothpaste, just be sure to get one that will be effective and does not contain sugar for a more healthy, teeth-cleaning experience. With your child having the buying-decision power, you get your child involved in his or her dental hygiene.