Think you’re busy, then try being a kid. School work, games, family time: these are some of the ‘activities’ they are trying to get used to. In addition to all of these, they need to learn how to take care of themselves every single day – and chief among their role in this behavioral process is their dental care.
For many parents, teaching their kids the importance of dental care and getting them to brush their teeth is a twice-daily struggle. But as experts in pediatric dentistry point out, it is a battle worth having. Tooth decay, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the most common disease affecting young children today. Dental infection, pain, and speech delays are some of the conditions linked to poor oral hygiene. However, all of these are largely preventable. Yes, you can get your kids to brush their teeth and like it.
Here are a few things you can do to make brushing a fun and regular part of your child’s daily routine:
- Set a Good Example
You’ve probably heard your child mimic the way you talk or sit at the table. This is because you are her biggest role model so it is ideal that you practice what you preach. In the same vein, she’s more likely to floss if she sees you flossing. It is best to start a routine and stick to it before giving your child the reigns as it teaches her the importance of integrating this activity into her daily routine. Try to make brushing seem more fun; maybe you could sing a silly song as you brush or have a special dance designed for this activity.
- Start Early
It is never too early to integrate flossing and brushing into your child’s twice-daily routine. In fact, experts in pediatric dentistry recommend starting your child’s dental care even before the arrival of the first tooth. During infancy, use a soft and damp cloth to gently wipe down their gums, then switch to a toothbrush as their teeth come in. schedule regular dental care visits to the pediatric dentist by your child’s first birthday, regardless of how many teeth they may have.
- Get the Whole Family Involved
It’s fun when mom and dad do it together! So get your partner involved in this activity and turn it into a family affair. Your child will not want to be left out of the party. You could add fun to the activity by trying to brush your partner’s teeth while she brushes yours, especially if your child is too young to brush her own. The goal is to make brushing fun and exciting – one they can carry on as they develop.
- Reward Good Effort
What motivates your child? If she’s a reader, have her select a bedtime story. If it is stickers, design a reward chart so she chart and let her add one anytime she makes good effort for her dental care. Maybe a simple knowing smile and a huge high five indicating how proud you are of her brushing behavior will go a long way to help her learn to love the activity.
To key to getting your child love brushing is to make it a fun and engaging routine, something they can look forward to. If you are able to achieve this, then your child will develop a positive lifelong habit of caring for their oral hygiene.