Brushing can seem like a chore, especially to children. They may not truly understand the importance of good oral hygiene until they get a painful cavity or rotten tooth, which is an experience no parent wants their child to experience. Since maintaining a good oral care routine can be tough for the little ones, here are a few tips that may help motivate your child to keep their teeth squeaky clean:
Have your child pick their own toothbrush.
A quick and easy way to make brushing exciting is to indulge your child with a themed children’s toothbrush. There are tons of dental hygiene products for kids with cute designs from their favorite shows and books. Most stores carry everything from Sponge Bob to Harry Potter and Hello Kitty.
As your child reviews their options, remind them to choose a brush with soft bristles and a brush size that is appropriate for their mouth and age. This is the first step your child is taking to become active in their dental hygiene routine. They’ll also be more enthusiastic about brushing with their favorite characters and colors by their side!
Use a kid-friendly toothpaste.
Toothpaste can be a little too strong and minty for children. If that’s the case for your child, you may want to pick up some fun kid-friendly flavors like vanilla or bubble gum. You can even let your child choose their own toothpaste flavor! This is also an opportunity to choose an ADA approved product that is fluoridated. Your pediatric dentist can help you determine what level of fluoridated product is appropriate for your child.
Brush with your child.
Turn oral hygiene into a family activity. Kids of all ages look up to their parents as role models, whether they know it or not. That’s why your children like to play dress-up in your closet and imitate your speech!
Brushing and flossing together at the end of the night will also give you the opportunity to monitor your child’s brushing and flossing technique for mistakes. Remind them that they don’t need to brush too hard, and show them how to reach all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in the back molars and under the gums. This is a good habit to practice until your child is 7 or 8 or until they have the motor skills to brush properly on their own.
Make it musical!
Music is an excellent tool for any repetitive activity. Try humming a favorite song as you brush with your child and have them guess what it is afterward. This turns brushing into a fun game and bonding activity every night.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children brush their teeth twice a day or after each meal, for approximately 2 minutes. This may seem like an eternity to your child. To make the process seem less arduous, play some fun tunes or podcasts to pass the time and entertain your child. This can also serve as a way to measure how long your child’s teeth are being brushed.
At the end of the day (sometimes literally), the goal is to make brushing fun. For more ideas or tips on brushing for kids, keep reading our pediatric dentistry blog! Kids Healthy Teeth in Katy, TX is dedicated to providing parents all over the city with resources to make sure their kids’ teeth are strong and healthy. If you’d like to book an appointment with our pediatric dentist in Katy, give us a call!