Help your child develop oral hygiene skills and have fun while doing it.
As a parent, you know that the foundation you lay for your children today can make all the difference in their adult life. This applies to many aspects of their physical and emotional development, including their dental health.
It’s never too early to show your little one how to form great habits that can keep their teeth and gums healthy as they grow.
Today, we’re sharing 7 steps that can help you establish your child’s oral hygiene routine. As important as they are fun, these steps are key to keeping their smile bright!
1. Set an example.
We don’t have to tell you that children love to be mirror images. Whether you realize it or not, they’re watching your every move and looking for ways to mimic your behavior.
Why not harness this eagerness to emulate to teach your kids an important lesson about dental health?
Let them watch as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, and be on hand to answer any questions they might have. Show them what you’re doing and the tools you’re using, and explain why you’re so invested in your own oral hygiene. You can even let them brush your teeth for a few seconds!
Before long, you’re sure to find them in their bathroom, attempting to do the very same.
2. Supervise young kids.
When they get a little bigger, your children will be able to hold a toothbrush on their own and use it the correct way. They’ll also know how much toothpaste is too much, and how much is just right!
Until then, it’s best to supervise as they brush and floss in the morning and evening. While you can let them try on their own, stick close to help make sure they’re adequately cleaning their teeth and gums.
3. Integrate oral care into your routine.
Chances are, you’ve already established basic routines that govern how your child wakes up and winds down.
For instance, you may set an alarm in the morning, help them get dressed, eat breakfast at a certain time, and head for the school bus. At night, your child may take a bath, read a story, and eat a snack before tuck-in time.
At both times of day, make sure you’re setting aside at least two minutes for your child to brush and floss their teeth. You can even set an exact time to head toward the sink. After a few days, this addition should be a natural next step in their anticipated schedule.
4. Let them pick fun toothbrushes.
Believe it or not, pink fairy toothbrushes work just as well as solid-colored ones! The same holds true for superhero ones and ones covered in cartoons.
It’s no secret that most kids are drawn to the brightest, boldest objects in any room. These items appeal to their senses and spark curiosity in their growing minds. Rather than insisting that they use adult-themed toothbrushes, go ahead and let them have the fun stuff. They’re only little once and this is a great way to get them excited about their oral care routine. Bonus points if the toothbrush spins and lights up!
5. Make tooth brushing a game.
The more tooth brushing and flossing feel like chores, the less enthusiastic your kids will be about doing them. Instead, look for fun ways to turn this time together into a game!
Two minutes might feel like a lifetime to your little ones when they are standing in front of the mirror on their own. Why not bring in a favorite stuffed friend to “brush” alongside them? Take turns scrubbing their “teeth” and let your child teach their toy how to do it the right way.
You can also make up a silly dance or use a fun and colorful timer to make the time pass more quickly.
6. Play a song while brushing and flossing.
Music makes everything more enjoyable, even dental care. Plus, many full-length songs last right around three minutes, giving your child ample time to perform their routine.
While you might prefer to brush and floss to a contemporary hit, let your child select the tunes they’d like to hear. This might mean playing their favorite television theme song a few times, but it’s worth it!
If you have older kids, they may enjoy a toothbrushing app like Brush DJ. This free app scans the music on your digital device and plays a two-minute selection to encourage your children to brush for the recommended amount of time. You can also use the app to set daily brushing reminders and keep track of your family’s upcoming dental appointments.
7. Incentivize hard work.
Children are naturally drawn to incentives and rewards. While you don’t need to be too elaborate with your creation, consider setting up a simple sticker chart to track their oral hygiene progress.
For every day they remember to brush and floss for at least two minutes in the morning and evening, they get a sticker! When the chart is full, take them for a special treat or let them choose the flick for family movie night.
This can help motivate little ones to become more dedicated to their dental care routine. As they get older, your children will realize that a healthy and beautiful smile is a reward all on its own!
We can help establish your child’s oral hygiene routine.
As your family’s trusted dental team, we’re here to help you create healthy habits right from the start. In addition to learning how to establish your child’s oral hygiene routine, it’s also important to schedule regular dentist visits for your crew.
At each appointment, we can take a close look at your child’s teeth and gums to make sure they’re clean and healthy! This also gives us an opportunity to spot and treat any issues as early as possible. To make an appointment or learn more about the services we provide, feel free to reach out to our team.