It’s no secret that toothcare is low on many children’s priority list. They would rather be watching tv, playing with their toys, eating candy, or doing just about anything besides brushing their teeth.
The dangerous thing is that this neglect can lead to cavities and tooth decay. 20% of children ages 5-11 have at least one untreated, decayed tooth.
The best way to prevent cavities and gum disease in children is for them to develop good teeth cleaning habits.
If you’re always telling your kids to “go brush your teeth!” keep reading for ways to make the process easier.
Make It Exciting
“Tooth time” should stand out as the highlight of your kid’s day.
One way you can do this is by making the two minutes they spend brushing their teeth wildly exciting. Do this by making it a party.
Find a song they love and blast it during tooth time. Dance around with your child for the length of the song while they brush and floss their teeth.
You can play up this excitement as much as you want. You can get a lava lamp and plug it in for tooth time. You can develop a silly tooth time dance.
The point is that you are upping the excitement surrounding brushing their teeth and they will start looking forward to it every morning and night.
Buy New Tooth Products
Kids love new things, so buying a brand new toothbrush that looks like their favorite tv character could be the trick to getting them to brush their teeth.
You should also try swapping out their toothpaste for a new flavor. You can even buy kid-friendly flossers that are easy for them to wedge in and out of their teeth.
Establish a Routine
Your kids already have a specific time for school, a time for dinner, and a time for bed.
Designate a certain time in the morning and night for brushing teeth and stick with it like any other part of their routine. This will prevent them from putting it off so long that they get tired and cranky. Try to have them brush their teeth within 30 minutes of eating dinner and breakfast.
Write the tooth times down so you don’t forget them. After a few weeks, this time will become part of your child’s routine and they will no longer dread it. This is especially true if they have new tooth products and you’re making the time exciting for them.
Children are very motivated by rewards.
You know what your child likes better than anybody. Use brushing their teeth as leverage for getting something they want.
Ideally, these rewards won’t be food-based, because you don’t want to give them snacks right after they brushed. For instance, perhaps they can watch an extra 10 minutes of tv if they brush their teeth on time with no complaints. Maybe they can spend more time outside, or have a later bedtime.
Offering rewards makes your child realize that brushing their teeth is worth it. Eventually, you won’t have to trade anything for your children brushing their teeth because they will be so used to it. Use rewards in the beginning to reinforce good behavior.
Be a Role Model
Children aren’t the only ones who shirk their dental responsibilities.
If you want your kids to brush and floss their teeth daily, you need to be a good role model for them. Adults should be brushing and flossing their teeth daily. Use a mouthwash to kill germs and get minty fresh breath.
You should also go to the dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning so that plaque and tartar don’t accumulate. Dentists will also be able to give you fillings or crowns that you’re unable to take care of yourself at home.
When you practice good dental hygiene, your kids will see you and want to join in.
Act as though brushing your teeth is the most fun part of your day. Comically exaggerate scrubbing from all angles and spit everything out like there’s no tomorrow. Your child will want to reenact what you do, it’s only natural for them.
Plus when you have beautiful, healthy teeth you can show them off to your children as an example of what they can have if they brush their teeth well too.
Keep Kids Healthy
Your kid’s dental health is just one part of their overall health, so keep your child healthy by feeding them nutritious foods and exercising regularly.
Exercise will also help with stress and digestion. This in turn can curb inflammation in the body including the gums. Gums that aren’t inflamed are far less likely to develop gum disease.
Make sure your child is getting enough calcium in their diet to support healthy teeth.
A healthy child will have more energy and engage in less avoidant behavior. A child who is unhealthy might just want to be lethargic and lay around the couch all day. But a healthy child is more likely to perk up and have a good time brushing their teeth when asked.
Now It’s Time to Tell Them to “Go Brush Your Teeth!”
“Go brush your teeth” is a phrase every child has heard dozens of times.
It doesn’t have to be a phrase that’s accompanied by a sea of dread. The items on this list will help in reframing tooth brushing in your child’s mind.
The goal is to get them to see brushing their teeth as a fun activity rather than a chore. Remember you can do this by cranking up the music and having a ton of fun brushing your teeth.
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