It’s easy to get your kids excited about a whole bunch of things. Brushing their teeth isn’t one of them. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of fights and dysfunction among parents and children as it’s becoming much tougher to get kids to just simply brush their teeth.
So what is it about oral hygiene that children seem to dislike? For starters, it may be due to the fact that parents are so adamant that they practice good oral health habits. Too many parents turn tooth brushing into a chore, something that lacks any sort of fun or imagination.
Young children in particular are more likely to show an interest in participating with just about anything if it’s turned into a game or some kind of adventure. Older kids are addicted to their video games and anything that takes them away from those is something that they are ready to put off until later. Much later.
So how can parents make their kids more interested in practicing excellent oral health? Simple. Make it fun. Turning toothbrush time into something exciting and positive and not a nagging chore is priority one for ensuring that your children aren’t just happy to brush their teeth but eager to do so on a routine basis.
Brush and Floss
Kids learn their habits and behaviors from their parents. It may not seem that way, but it’s true. Which is why it’s absolutely critical to get your children on the path to proper oral hygiene from a very early age.
That means teaching them how to brush and floss as early as two years of age. Show them how to apply a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and be sure you explain to them not to swallow it when they brush but spit it out instead. Don’t forget to show them how to floss either as that can be a difficult thing to grasp for younger kids.
As your kids get a bit older, make brushing and flossing a family affair. When you and your kids do these things together and demonstrate your techniques to them so they may imitate what you’re doing. This includes brushing your teeth, your tongue, and flossing in between to clear away all the bad plaque and tartar.
You can even create songs and competitions between you and your kids to see who can be the most effective at brushing and flossing each time you do them both as a group.
Another important aspect of good oral health in children is keeping up with those dental visits. But getting your kids to want to sit in the dentist’s chair can be a real challenge. The solution is to find a dentist that caters to the needs of children by making them feel safe and comfortable when they come to visit for any reason.
In most cases, a child will need to see a dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup. Neither of these should hold any mystery or concern for a child of any age, yet many can feel some level of anxiety. Finding a kind, gentle dentist who takes the time to explain everything before it happens can put a child at ease.
The dentists at Midlothian Family Dentistry understand that kids can be apprehensive about wanting to visit a dentist’s office and we cater to their concerns, ready to answer any questions they may have and acknowledge any fears they may have before and during the appointment.
A good way to make your child feel comfortable enough to visit the dentist on a regular basis is to introduce the child to dental appointments from an early age. Most children are ready for their first dental visit by the time they are a year old. If you make going to the dentist no big deal from the start, that can get children more excited to learn how they may care for their teeth and gums.
Having a good relationship with a friendly dentist will also inspire them to brush and floss more often, so they may show off their skills and dedication the next time there’s a dental appointment on the calendar.
Instilling good dental hygiene practices during a child’s formative years will make him or her more likely to adopt and maintain those teeth-healthy routines through adolescence, into their teenage years, and well into adulthood. It’s up to parents to take this as seriously as their children in order to ward off tooth decay, gum disease, and other potential dangers related to poor oral health.