Any parent knows it can feel impossible to get kids to do what you ask. When your child is a toddler, you’re likely brushing their teeth for them. Eventually, they reach an age where they start to take care of their own dental care.
Having them take care of their own oral hygiene is easier said than done when taking care of teeth gets in the way of play time. We’ve compiled some easy ways you can encourage proper pediatric dental home care for your kids.
Tips To Help Parents Encourage Better Pediatric Dental Home Care
Pediatric dental care is all about setting up good foundations for dental health as an adult. A major part of this is scheduling regular cleanings and checkups, but good home care matters even more. That is why the first few years your child is brushing their teeth for themselves are so important. They’re establishing habits that will they will stick with for years.
Lead from the Front
You shouldn’t ask your child to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself. Be a model for your child to follow. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and eat a healthy diet. Your children admire you, and people learn most of their behaviors from their parents.
Make sure your kids see you brush and floss regularly. Let them in your bathroom when you’re getting ready in the morning. They’re picking up more from you than you think.
Your son or daughter likely bombards you with dozens of questions a day, and most of them are probably the same one: “Why?” They’ve certainly asked this more than once about dental care.
Encourage this creativity. Tell them why brushing and flossing are necessary. Just make sure not to make it scary.
Children can have a hard time conceptualizing the invisible benefits of pediatric dental care. Invest in some plaque disclosing tablets, which temporarily dyes plaque bright colors. This makes it real for them by showing them the gunk they brush away every morning and night.
Give Them Ownership of Their Dental Care
Your little one will be a lot more likely to keep up with brushing if they feel some ownership in over the activity. Letting your child choose their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and rinse cup gives them a part in making decisions about their dental care.
Let them choose a brush with their favorite cartoon character or toothpaste that comes in a flavor they like. The minty taste of most adult toothbrushes is too harsh for kids. Childrens’ options come in milder fruit flavors. Just make they choose a fluoride toothpaste.
Turn Brushing into a Game
Anyone who has transformed a spoonful of peas into an airplane knows the benefits of visualization and playing pretend with your kids. Use a similar strategy for brushing time. Have your child make believe that the brush is a high-powered laser beam that takes out the alien invaders in his mouth. Base the game around their interests or favorite shows.
If the game doesn’t work, try writing a toothbrushing song for them. Pick a well-known melody and make up some lyrics they’ll enjoy. Make the song about brushing, family, pets, or something else in their life. You can also use one of these already written songs.
Make a Checklist and Offer Prizes
When all else fails, it may be time to resort to bribery. Make a checklist of morning and nighttime chores, and make sure brushing and flossing are included. When they complete a task, have them come to you to check off the activity on their list.
Every day they complete the list, give them a ticket to exchange for a prize at the end of the week. These can be anything. Trips to the park, visits with friends, and video game time all work great. Just make sure your prizes aren’t tooth decaying snacks like candy.
By using these simple tricks, you can instill good dental routines in your kids that will last them a lifetime. Another good pediatric dental care habit to start on early is regular check-ups and cleanings. Schedule an appointment for your son or daughter at Wilson Pediatric Dentistry in North Carolina.