Because children are just as prone to cavities and gum disease as adults, getting your kids excited about and engaged in good oral health routines is important. Here’s what you can do!
Let them pick their toothbrush
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months and after an illness like influenza or strep throat. When it’s time to replace your child’s toothbrush, take your little one with you and let them choose the toothbrush they like most. A character toothbrush or pretty pink toothbrush can go a long way when it comes to engaging your child in their oral health routine.
Set the example
Kids love to play “grown-up,” so when you brush and floss twice daily either with them or in front of them, they’re more likely to mimic those behaviors and keep their teeth and gums. If your schedules don’t line up, try to find time at least a few times a week to brush together so they have the opportunity to see your technique and observe how long it takes.
Incorporate a song or rhyme
Teaching your kids a song they can sing in their head or play on their tablet while they brush their teeth is a great way to make it more fun and less work. There are lots of great examples (like this one
) on YouTube.
Buy books about oral health
The goal is never to scare children, but helping them understand why brushing and flossing is so important and what consequences might occur if they don’t practice good oral hygiene can promote better habits in a healthy way. Children’s books often do a great job of making oral health fun and interesting. Here are some examples we like:
We also recommend reading a book with your child before their first dental visit so they know what to expect and can ease their worries.
Include brushing and flossing in their chore chart
Few things are as satisfying as marking a to-do off of a long list, even for kids. If you use a chore chart (or an awesome chore app like ChoreMonster), incorporate oral health into their daily chores so they get a reward, whether that’s putting a sticker on the chart to mark it complete or earning a small allowance or treat. You can download this free printable brushing chart
to get started today.
Choose flavored toothpaste
Any adult will agree: brushing your teeth with icky toothpaste can leave a bad taste in your mouth (see what we did there?). Give your little one the opportunity to choose their favorite flavor of toothpaste to make brushing just a little easier every day.
Don’t forget routine dental visits
A dental exam every six months after the first tooth erupts can help you catch any dental problems early and encourage positive habits among children. Dental care and good dental hygiene go hand in hand! To learn more, contact Dr. Rizza and the friendly staff at First Street Smiles