Just like getting kids to eat their vegetables or make their bed each morning can be a chore, getting kids excited about brushing their teeth can be a challenge. Many children resent the bedtime routine and even harbor deeply rooted fears of visiting the dentist. However, the key to getting kids excited about their oral health is to start early and be consistent.
If you create a positive attitude around the dentist and your childs teeth, he or she will be much more willing to maintain good dental habits. If you are struggling to keep your kids mouth healthy, here are 5 tips to get you both excited about brushing.
1. Let Them Pick The Toothbrush
Sometimes the simplest things are the biggest hurdles for our children. Help your child get more invested in their teeth brushing routine by letting them pick out their very own, personal toothbrush.
Childrens toothbrushes come in many kid-friendly designs, including bright colors, flashing lights, and even in the shapes of their favorite cartoon characters. Whether your kids loves brushing with a princess or enjoys the whir of a powered toothbrush, let them be involved in choosing their own brushes.
2. Get Creative
Another simple way to encourage your children to brush is by getting creative. Kids love a good story, so why not make one up about brushing? You can teach valuable hygiene lessons through one riveting tale.
Talk about how the evil sugar demons come out after you eat and the only way to stop them from harvesting your teeth is by the help of Captain Toothbrush. Your child will get excited about helping the Captain rid their mouth of these villainous creatures through proper brushing technique.
3. Share In The Fun
If brushing is a chore for you, it will be a chore for your kids. Make teeth brushing a positive event in your family and join in the fun. Make funny faces in the mirror, have a contest to see who can brush the longest, do a goofy toothbrush dance together. When the parents get involved in fun and playful ways, teeth brushing time becomes an activity your kids will look forward to, rather than resent.
4. Offer An Incentive Plan
Sometimes kids just need a little incentive. If your child responds well to rewards, creating a star chart or offering five extra minutes of bedtime could be an effective way to encourage regular brushing.
For example, you could award a sticker to your kid each night and morning he brushes his teeth. Once he accumulates a certain number, you can award him a new toy, extra playtime, or a treat. Figure out whatever works best for you and your child and be consistent.
5. Make The Dentist A Positive Thing
Unfortunately, many parents use the dentist as a threat; rather than creating a positive association with a visit to the dentist office, children develop a fear and repulsion for the dentist. For example, instead of saying something encouraging, parents will say, If you dont brush your teeth Ill take you to the dentist. This makes the dentist a punishment.
Instead, try to focus on the positives of visiting the dentist. Talk about how the dentist makes your teeth strong and healthy. Play up the opportunity the child will have to pick out their own brand new tooth brush and focus on how nice and fun going to the dentist is. Your kid wont fear the dentist and will look forward to the opportunity to show off his pearly whites.
Simply by getting creative and having fun, you can make brushing a positive experience for both you and your child.
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His blog, Dr. Ouch, covers a range of topics in the medical field, from dentists in Salt Lake City to womens health issues.