Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get back into a routine.
Getting children to brush their teeth and practise good dental hygiene can be a challenge for parents. But teaching little ones good dental health habits is an important component of them achieving the best possible oral health. Giving kids the opportunity to select their own toothbrush and toothpaste can be a good way to invigorate their interest in oral health habits. Brushes come in a vast range of designs and colours and are often decorated with familiar cartoon characters. Similarly, there are fluoride toothpastes that come in fun flavours and colours.
Tooth brushing doesn’t have to be a chore, and can be a fun component of morning and evening routines. Implement one or more of the following to make the experience livelier for your kid:
Sing or hum songs while teeth are being brushed. You can even have a special tooth brushing song. Adapt lyrics to a familiar tune or find a tooth-care ditty you and your child enjoy.
Brush your own teeth while they brush theirs. Not only will you be modeling good habits, but brushing teeth together makes the experience more fun for little ones.
Let them brush your teeth. Kids will get a kick out of brushing Mom or Dad’s teeth while their own pearly whites get cleaned.
If your kids—or yourself—are in too much of a hurry to get through the task of brushing teeth, use an egg timer or sandglass to make sure brushing lasts a full two minutes. This is also good once the children are more independent and want to do the brushing by themselves.
Positive reinforcement will motivate kids to repeat desired behaviours. Rewards for tooth brushing can be as simple as a word of praise or a hug, or be more involved. Some parents see good results using a sticker reward system, where a sticker is posted on a chart every time the child brushes their teeth and a bigger reward is given when a pre-determined number of stickers are accumulated.
Children with developmental or neurobehavioural disorders may need additional incentives and reminders to practice good dental hygiene.
- Maintain a specific routine, with adequate time allotted.
- Minimize distractions.
- Let the child do the majority of the brushing.
- Talk them through and/or role model the necessary steps.
Our Grande Prairie dental clinic provides dentistry services to many young patients and can help you find the solutions you and your child require.
201 – 11002 – 104 Ave, Grande Prairie, AB.