Do your kids dread the dentist? Are they less than skilled at brushing and flossing their teeth every day?
It’s important to encourage dental care for kids because not brushing or flossing properly can lead to cavities, gum disease, and other issues that impact their overall health and development.
Follow our tips below for ways to get your kids excited about taking care of their teeth and doing it properly. We’ll also look at ways to make the dentist’s office more fun and less scary. Let’s get started.
1. Do it Together and Set a Timer
It’s way easier to enforce a healthy habit with your kids if they see you doing it too. Make it a routine to brush and floss your teeth daily with your kids so it feels like a fun family activity.
Since the American Dental Association recommends brushing for a full two minutes, you can even make it more fun by setting a two-minute timer while you all brush together. Let your kids take turns starting and stopping the timer so that they are all involved. They’ll have fun and you’ll feel better knowing that they’re brushing enough.
2. Use a Special Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three or four months. Let your kids pick out their own new toothbrushes so that they get excited about them. There are so many options with bright colors and their favorite movie and tv characters.
You can also make their toothpaste more exciting. Kids typically enjoy fruity flavors over minty ones, and you can find toothpaste with their favorite characters on the package to match their toothbrushes.
As simple as it sounds, getting your kids excited about their toothbrushes and toothpaste will help them form a positive association with brushing their teeth.
3. Use Music, Books, and Videos
Instead of a timer, play a song your kids love that’s around two minutes. Make it a goal that everyone brushes for the whole length of the song, and let them take turns choosing the song.
You can also incorporate books and videos to teach your kids about taking care of their teeth. There are fun picture books, like “Brush Your Teeth, Please” by Leslie McGuire that teach the importance of oral hygiene in an age-appropriate way. Your kids will love making these books part of their nighttime routine,
You can also show them educational videos that are entertaining and will teach them how to brush and floss properly. This one is fun and great for many ages. The more fun elements you bring into their oral health, the more encouraged they’ll feel to participate.
4. Start a Rewards System
If your kids still aren’t excited about brushing and flossing, you can try implementing a reward system so they have a little more motivation. Print out a monthly calendar and put a fun sticker on it for every day that they brush and floss completely.
At the end of the month, give them a small reward or let them pick an activity to do together as a reward. They will love counting down the days until their next reward, and they’ll enjoy putting the stickers on the calendar themselves.
Make the reward activity something exciting, like a family movie night in the backyard complete with blankets and movie snacks. Having something to look forward to will keep them motivated to stay on top of their brushing and flossing routines.
5. Make Dentist Appointments Fun
A lot of kids have a fear of the dentist, but you can change that by making the experience more fun. First, choose a pediatric dentist that’s skilled in interacting with children and can calm their fears.
A pediatric dentist will also have a more fun office environment, including a waiting room full of toys so the kids can entertain themselves and not focus on their anxiety. Learn more about pediatric and adolescent dentistry from Dr. Rhondo Hogan.
You can also incorporate a fun treat after the appointment to get your kids excited about going. If they have something to look forward to, like a frozen yogurt date or going to the children’s museum, they will form a positive association with the dentist’s office.
Encourage Dental Care for Kids Everyday
The best way for your kids to really understand something is to use repetition and consistency. Make oral health a regular part of your conversations and routines with them, and switch up the educational books and videos you use to keep their interest.
You should also teach them about what happens when they don’t take care of their teeth. It’s okay to scare them a little bit about cavities, gum disease, and teeth falling out to make them take dental hygiene more seriously.
You can also bring healthy teeth into craft time by printing off some coloring pages of big smiles, fun toothbrushes, and kids going to the dentist.
There are tons of other ways you can bring oral health into your kid’s daily lives outside of when they brush and floss. The main thing to remember is to talk about it all the time and make it fun with activities.
The Most Effective Children’s Dental Care
Set your kids up for success with their dental hygiene for the rest of their lives by helping them establish the right habits and routines while they are young. Dental care for kids can be fun, educational, and effective.
Make the dentist a fun experience from their first dentist appointment and reassure them that there’s nothing scary about it. A great pediatric dentist will also be able to guide you on ways to help your kids if they still aren’t participating in their dental hygiene.
For more parenting tips and resources, check out the rest of the blog.