Brushing teeth can be fun! There are enjoyable ways to get your children to brush and floss their teeth. Although it can be a challenge, it is a worthwhile effort, since 90 percent of school-age children throughout the world have tooth decay.
Don’t let kids skip brushing teeth, no matter how busy the day is; make it part of the morning and bedtime routine that isn’t negotiable. A regular tooth-brushing routine is a healthy habit that is essential in combating tooth decay. In just two minutes, twice a day, your kids can lay the foundation for a lifelong healthy smile!
Bringing the element of playfulness into this daily task can make brushing and flossing a pleasant part of their daily routine. Encouraging good dental practices does not have to be a chore that everyone hates. Make it something your children look forward to by incorporating the following tips into the mix.
Make It Special
- Let your child pick out his or her own soft bristled toothbrush. This may seem like a small thing, but a new toothbrush may help to encourage your child to start brushing his or her teeth.
- Buy a kit with stickers that allow children to design their own toothbrush.
- So long to mint flavored toothpaste. There are many great flavors of American Dental Association approved fluoride toothpastes, such as strawberry, watermelon, berry and bubble gum. The fluoride will protect the enamel on their teeth and help prevent cavities, but it’s not good to ingest the toothpaste, so they will have fun learning how to spit and rinse so they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
- Brush your own teeth with your child while humming or singing a song and have your child guess the tune, then turn the table and guess what song your child is summing.
- Research shows that when young children observe other family members brushing their teeth, they want to brush, too. So, let your child see you brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis.
- Read a silly story or poem using fun voices to keep your child entertained while they brush their teeth.
Schedule some extra time and make every effort to enjoy the game you choose to play. Tooth-brushing in this way moves it from being a task to being a game! Good play lifts the mood and helps children see that brushing their teeth CAN be fun!
- Songs and games will make oral care a memorable time of the day! There are several videos and songs to help encourage regular brushing.
- Have fun together, even when it comes to brushing their teeth. Brushing for two minutes may seem like an eternity to a young child, but there are many ways to make your child’s dental routine a fun activity.
- There are also some fun apps for toothbrushing such as, “Brush DJ“. This app plays two minutes of music, the recommended time for brushing, while your child races against the clock to get a clean mouth before time is up. “Star Teeth” allows kids to pick a character who encourages them while they brush.
- Use your toothbrush as a microphone or make funny faces at each other in the mirror. Getting rid of plaque is serious business, but you don’t have to approach it in a militaristic way.
- Elmo, along with several celebrities have gotten into the business of encouraging everyone to brush their teeth. This type of media is fun for children to watch and encourages them with catchy tunes and demonstrations of how to brush their teeth.
Create a Reward System
Children are not necessarily motivated to have good dental hygiene habits and the long-term goal of having intact teeth during old age is not something most 6-year-olds think about. Keep track of your child’s brushing and flossing with a simple chart that you post where they can see it every day. Offer non-monetary rewards for successfully brushing two times per day for two minutes. Especially when you’re trying to establish these healthy habits, rewards can be your friend!
There is no need for an elaborate prize; a little something to provide motivation will suffice. What do your children love? Use this as an incentive for them to take care of their oral health. Just make sure you’re not rewarding them with candy or sugar-laden incentives
- Provide small rewards, like reading an extra story or giving them a sticker for brushing their teeth every night.
- A star chart or similar reward system will help motivate them to brush every day.
- Toddlers respond well to positive reinforcement, so offer lots of praise when your child does a good job brushing and flossing his or her teeth.
- GUM Red-Cote Plaque Disclosing Tablets visibly discloses the areas of your child’s tooth enamel where additional brushing and flossing is needed to combat plaque. Using these chewable plaque tablets can make brushing fun and help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and the further build-up of plaque.
Regular Dental Checkups Are Essential
According to the ADA, your child should start getting regular checkups around age one. Early positive experiences reinforce the idea that the dental office is a fun, friendly, non-threatening place. Children who get in the habit of going to the dentist twice a year and taking care of their oral health from an early age have a much better chance of having healthy teeth into adulthood.
Dr. Shane S. Porter, of Premier Dentistry of Eagle is dedicated to helping your child achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that helps them feel confident at an early age. Contact us online or call 208-546-0655 today to schedule an appointment. Our office is conveniently located at 467 South Rivershore Lane in Eagle, and Dr. Porter provides treatment to the whole family in the surrounding communities of Star, Middleton, Meridian, Garden City, and Boise, Idaho.
It’s never too early to start building good dental habits for your children. Start tomorrow to create fun, new traditions that will have them wanting to brush and floss their teeth!