Few kids know how to properly take care of their teeth, and fewer actually enjoy it. Here are some strategies to help make taking care of your kids’ teeth educational and fun!
Build a Routine
A routine for caring for your children’s teeth can start when they’re babies, by wiping down their gums with a clean cloth after feedings. As they grow into toddlers and teeth appear, exchange the cloth for small toothbrushes to use twice daily.
As your children become preschoolers, the habit of taking care of teeth has been firmly established. Your kids will know that in your family, teeth are brushed twice a day with soft-bristled toothbrushes that are replaced every three months. Floss can also be introduced at this stage, cleaning out plaque from in-between teeth.
Even as kids grow older and start school, they’ll need help brushing and flossing correctly in order to take proper care of their teeth.
Brushing Can Be Fun!
There’s a lot to pay attention to when it comes to taking care of their teeth, and kids aren’t necessarily known for their patience. To get teeth shiny and clean, we need to spend two to three minutes brushing all sides of them. I have found that taking turns with my children during teeth-brushing time helps keep them on-task, as well as singing verses from their favorite songs. Try using the ABC song to help kids keep brushing longer, singing it through more than once.
Modeling and discussion through play is also a great way to help children process a healthy-teeth habit. To help small children especially, find a doll and have your child “brush” the doll’s teeth. Have your child talk about what he/she is doing, and review the basics about how to brush properly. Research picture books and DVD’s at your local library which reinforce the basics of good oral hygiene.
Use Fun Products
Let your kids have choices when it comes to taking care of their teeth. There’s a variety of kid-friendly products out there, including toothbrushes that have songs and special characters, fun toothpaste, cute reusable cups, and mouthwash that turns your kids’ teeth blue where brushing is required.
Have a few different toothbrushes for your kids to choose from, and teach them how to put pea-sized amounts of toothpaste on the bristles. Keep them brushing for extended amounts of time while singing a simple song, like the ABC’s. Don’t forget to review rinsing and spitting!
A Family Affair
Building good dental hygiene habits starts with you. Set a healthy example by showing your kids that you eat well, brush correctly, floss, and visit your dentist every six months. Take your children for regular visits to the dentist beginning in their toddler years for cleaning and checkups. Consistent practice of good dental hygiene habits will help ensure the best for your children as they grow!