Establishing good oral habits early on is key to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. That’s why it’s important to teach your kids how to brush regularly — twice per day with a soft-bristled brush. But that’s easier said than done, as most parents know. Here are five suggestions for getting your kids to brush their teeth regularly:
- Lead by example. If you brush your teeth along with your children, they can learn by watching. Children often want to imitate their parents, and what better example can you set than by brushing your teeth in the morning and night time? With you there, you can also assist them in their own efforts and demonstrate the proper way to do it.
- Select a colorful and tasty toothpaste that kids will like. Most manufacturers offer flavors that kids enjoy, including bubble gum, strawberry, orange, and more. If it smells and tastes good, kids will want to brush often. For younger children, choose a toothpaste without flouride, as they tend to swallow the paste while brushing. There is also tooth gel for toddlers, which is designed to be gentler on the gums.
- Choose a brush kids will want to use. Most children’s toothbrushes are available in fun designs, with cartoons or action heros. Find one that resonates with your child. And for bonus points, if you can find an adult brush with similar designs, it will encourage children to mimic you even more.
- Negotiate with the kids. They love to negotiate with you to get what they want. So, try negotiating with them to get them to brush their teeth twice daily. This could be in the form of reading a special book with them, playing a board game, or allowing them extra TV/screen time. Or, offer rewards for children who brush twice daily without being asked or reminded to do so.
- Make it fun! During brushing, play music that lasts around two minutes so the task of brushing for that duration seems less like a chore and more like fun. Music also encourages kids to brush in unison with the beats.
However you do it, be dilligent about training your children to brush their teeth properly twice per day. Early habits will prevent major dental issues in the near and long term. Once you’ve got them brushing, don’t forget to teach them to floss!
Contact Corson Dentistry for more tips on caring for your children’s oral health.