Dental hygiene is important to your kids’ dental health, appearance and even speech development. The American Dental Association recommends age-appropriate brushing activities starting at birth. While many parents struggle with getting younger kids to brush and floss, there are some simple tips to help make kids love cleaning their teeth. Try these tips today to make brushing time more fun, effective and hassle-free for you and your kids.
Buy kid-friendly toothpaste flavors.
Strong mint and cinnamon flavors, while popular for adults for the wake-me-up zing, may prove too much for kids. Similarly, baking soda toothpastes don’t often appeal to kids. Luckily, toothpaste manufacturers produce tons of options formulated just for kids’ tender tongues, including kid-oriented flavors such as bubblegum and raspberry. Don’t be put off by the sugary sounding names; these flavors are just as effective as their adult counterparts.
Let kids pick their own toothbrushes.
Allowing your little one to select his own toothbrush with a favorite cartoon character on it or in his favorite color lets him feel in control of his health and makes brushing more appealing.
Use timing games to make brushing fun.
Egg timers, specialty brushing timers, musical toothbrushes and even light-up toothbrushes are just some of the many ways to make brushing for an adequate amount of time less chore-like and more fun for kids. Or, use the technology at your fingertips. YouTube has tons of free toothbrush timing videos like this one featuring Disney’s Frozen.
Make dental hygiene part of a daily routine that ends in reward.
In the morning, make sure that kids don’t put on their favorite television show or turn on that game before completing all of their hygiene routine, including brushing their teeth. At night, reward the routine with a bedtime story and some extra attention from mom and dad. Starting a positive routine early in life will make kids look forward to brushing their teeth, since they’ll instinctively feel something good is coming next.
Demonstrate good habits.
As basic as it sounds, practice what you preach. Let your kids see you brush your teeth and floss regularly. At young ages, you are their biggest influence and role model, so don’t skip out on proper brushing because you are running late – they’ll notice and mirror your behavior.
Celebrate healthy dental check-ups.
Reward healthy dental check-ups with a small toy or sticker, and be sure to hang the dentist’s report (many give kids a certificate) on the refrigerator. A sense of pride in their beautiful smiles will make kids keen on cleaning their teeth properly and regularly.
Establishing a daily routine that includes dental hygiene sets the scene for your child’s lifelong dental and medical health. Using these tips to make brushing more fun and talking about dental health, cutting out sugary drinks and snacks, and taking the fear out of dentist’s visits by exposing kids to the subject frequently all lead to a happier, healthier child.