As a parent, taking care of your child’s wellbeing is paramount. Their physical health is something you’re constantly worrying about, whether it’s a mild fever or a scraped knee from playing outside. One area of health that sometimes gets put on the backburner is dental hygiene.
Kids usually don’t like going to the dentist. Still, it’s essential to go for routine checkups to check for cavities and other dental hygiene issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34 million school hours are lost because children have to be taken out of school to go to the dentist.
In keeping your child healthy, teaching them how to brush their teeth can sometimes be a struggle. Whether it’s an argument or a tantrum, getting them to brush their teeth can seem more like a chore than anything else.
Children with ADHD require even more dental attention as their impulsivity makes it difficult for them to comply with oral hygiene.
One of the best ways to make this process easier is to incorporate fun, engaging activities into your daily routine. Teaching your child the importance of brushing and flossing will go a long way in creating lifelong habits and keep them out of the dentist’s chair.
Below are ten clever ways you can help your child learn to adequately brush their teeth. You’ll help them prevent cavities, gum disease or any other dental issues by taking the time to teach them the habit.
6 Ways to Teach Kids About Oral Hygiene
Take the guesswork out of teaching your children about brushing their teeth by following the steps below. Your future self will thank you when your kids establish the habit of brushing and flossing their teeth daily!
1. Purchase a Dentist Play Tool Kit
When kids are able to do hands-on activities, it can be beneficial to their learning process. Kids tend to be visual learners, so telling them about brushing teeth is usually not very effective.
Thankfully, dental playsets are a natural way to incorporate tooth brushing into playtime. There are plenty of options when it comes to purchasing playsets for your child, and they’re known to be pretty effective.
2. Use a Special Toothbrush
Companies that make toothbrushes are aware that kids sometimes have aversions to toothbrushing. It can be challenging to get them to stand by the sink and get that toothpaste ready.
Because of this, you can buy special toothbrushes that play music, have extra-soft bristles, and sometimes their favorite cartoon characters on them. When kids have unique items to brush their teeth with, the activity of toothbrushing can actually be something they look forward to! Be sure to invest in a good electric kids toothbrush to ensure all the hard-to-reach places are being brushed thoroughly.
3. Sing for the Two Minutes of Brushing
It’s recommended that brushing two times a day for approximately two minutes can help lower your child’s risk of developing cavities, gum disease, or other negative dental issues.
Many people will use the “Happy Birthday” song to count how long they should be brushing. Still, most people can sing this song reasonably quickly! There are videos on YouTube that you can stream on your smartphone beside your sink to make sure your child is brushing their teeth for enough time. This will keep them engaged and teach them the importance of brushing adequately.
4. Reward Good Dental Habits
As a parent, you probably already know the value of positive reinforcement. When children do well on an exam or win their soccer game, rewarding them for a job well done can help motivate them to continue down that path. The same goes for toothbrushing. Consider setting up a reward chart for each time your child brushes their teeth and give them a small reward in the morning and before bed. It can be anything from extra screen time to their favorite breakfast the following day.
5. Let Your Child Pick Their Toothpaste
Like toothbrushes, toothpastes are specially designed for kids, so they learn to brush the right way and have fun while doing so. Toothpaste comes in flavors that appeal to children, whereas adult toothpaste may be too minty for young ones.
Flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy allow children to enjoy the taste of their toothpaste while brushing. Toothpaste sometimes even has sparkles, and what kid wouldn’t want to use that?
6. Brush Your Teeth In Front of Your Child
Another great way to show your child how to brush their teeth properly is to have them watch you brush your teeth. Being a role model in more ways than one for your child offers an array of benefits. It’s best to lead by example when teaching your child how to brush their teeth, as they’ll likely follow along more engaged. The more enthusiastically you brush and floss your teeth, the more enthusiastic your child will be when they’re creating brushing and flossing habits.
Be sure to incorporate flossing into all these activities, as flossing removes the buildup between your teeth that typically contributes to gingivitis. Brushing and flossing go hand in hand.
Importance of Teaching Dental Hygiene
Brushing teeth doesn’t have to be a struggle for you or your child. By establishing rules and boundaries as any parent would, the process can go off without a hitch. Before you know it, they’ll be brushing their teeth regularly.