Helping your children establish good dental hygiene habits from an early age is one of best things you can do for them, as those habits will impact their oral health, their smiles and even their confidence, for a lifetime. When kids think of brushing and flossing their teeth as something they have to do, however, it becomes a chore and something for them to resist.
Here are five tips from pediatric dentists designed to help change your kids’ mindsets, to make them actually look forward to brushing and flossing their teeth:
Lead by Example
One of the easiest ways to help your kids develop good habits is to model the behavior you want them to mimic. When it comes to brushing and flossing, make it a family affair and brush your teeth together in the morning and at night. When you’re done brushing, help floss your children’s teeth (or floss at the same time if your kids are old enough to floss their own teeth.)
Use a Chart
Seeing progress displayed visually, and seeing a gold star (or colorful sticker) next to their names each time they brush their teeth can be another easy but extremely effective way to help instill good habits. You can create your own weekly brushing chart and post it prominently somewhere where your kids will see it regularly and will be motivated to continue earning stars or stickers.
Let Them Help Pick the Brush and Toothpaste
Another way to get kids to enjoy the act of brushing their teeth is to let them help pick out their own toothbrush in their favorite color, and give them a choice between two or more kinds of toothpaste designed specifically for kids (just look for the ADA seal of acceptance.) Pediatric dentists agree that giving kids a say into those tools will help them feel more invested in, and actually want to use them, on a regular basis.
Establish a Routine
Kids love routine because they know what to expect and feel more secure. But, “routine” doesn’t need to mean “boring.” When it comes to brushing their teeth, create a fun routine. Play (or sing) songs, tell stories, set a timer to remember to brush (and to brush for long enough!) When kids know that 8 PM means it’s time for the tooth brushing song, they are more likely to be excited and want to go brush their teeth than if you spring it on them as something they have to do before bed.
Start Seeing a Family Dentist Early On
Children should have their first dentist visit after their baby teeth start coming in. Be sure to choose a dentist who works with children as part of their practice. Pediatric dentists understand how to treat younger patients so those patients will have a good experience from their very first visit.
At Williams & Daily Dental, our team of dedicated pediatric dentists have experience working with the youngest patients. More importantly, we enjoy working with children, helping make going to the dentist’s office fun and engaging. To learn more and to schedule an appointment today, contact Williams & Daily online or call us at (919) 846-9070.