Good dental and brushing habits are an important part of your overall health, and the earlier you instill good habits, the better off your kids will be. It’s easier than you think to create healthy and long lasting dental care habits – and the rewards will last a lifetime. Make 2015 the year you take control of your family’s oral health and give everyone the gift of great teeth.
1. Start early
Even toddlers can understand the importance of tooth brushing, and you may find that your little one looks forward to it. Don’t overlook the importance of starting early; building good dental habits that last a lifetime takes a while. Older kids may need some additional encouragement and help getting into a new routine.
2. Set the right dental care example
How well are you caring for your teeth? If your kids see your brushing and flossing regularly and know you go to the dentist, they are more likely to do so as well. Talk up the benefits of brushing for a few days – a simple “Wow, my teeth feel great now that they are clean” or “I just finished lunch, I had better go brush my teeth” can go a long way. Make sure your own habits are setting the best example for the kids and schedule your own 2015 appointment when you schedule the children’s.
3. Use child friendly dental products
Choose toothpaste that is appealing – and let your child choose his own toothbrush. Kid-sized brushes fit better into little mouths and will be easier for your child to hold and use. Flossers in a rainbow of colors or that feature favorite characters keep things interesting and make it easy for older kids to floss on their own.
4. Don’t be afraid to make a mess and have some fun
Good brushing can be messy – bubbles and foam are the side effects of good brushing habits. Have a little fun when you brush, whether you go for the classic “foaming at the mouth” look or blow some bubbles. A little mess is a small price to pay for willing brushing and good dental habits. Most kids love the colorful dissolving agents that show just where the plaque is – and will work extra hard to get it off.
5. Make it easy
Make sure the sink is accessible by adding a stepstool for shorter children and keep toothbrushes, floss and supplies within easy reach. Kids (and adults) are more likely to brush is the supplies are close and hand; hunting down the toothpaste or trying to find the floss can deter your child from brushing at all.
6. Employ older siblings
The example you set makes a difference, but a big brother or sister can have even more impact on your child’s willingness to brush. Enlist an older sibling to show a younger child the ropes – and both kids will benefit from more thorough and careful brushing.
7. Use a goal chart
Set reasonable goals and let your child come up with some rewards. Teachers everywhere use reward charts to instill good classroom habits – and charts work great at home, too. From a small toy or book to a more elaborate prize, giving your child something to work towards will encourage him to brush and create a healthy habit.
8. There’s an app for that
Find a song or app your child enjoys and use it to promote good brushing. From dental or tooth related games to brushing to a favorite song can help your child remember to brush. Listening to a specific song can also help your little one brush for a long enough time; some kids speed through brushing and do a less than thorough job.
9. Learn more about going to your Mansfield MA dentist
Books or movies that feature going to the dentist in a positive way are great motivators for most kids. Choosing a dental practice skilled in pediatric dentistry can make the office visit something to look forward to – not something to fear.
No matter what age your child will be in 2015, the new year is a great time to focus on creating healthy brushing and dental habits that will last a lifetime. The winter holidays mean that school will be out of session – so there will be plenty of time to adjust to a new and improved dental routine.
Image Credit: Josh Kenzer
Posted in: Pediatric Dentistry