Introducing your children to good oral health is very important. Some kids need help and encouragement, while others require you to be more creative with your oral hygiene care ideas. Here at our Evanston dental office, we’ve compiled some different tips and tricks that you can try to help your little one keep their smile happy and healthy.
Make tooth brushing time = family time
Brush your teeth alongside your kids. Get down on their level and let them watch how you are brushing your teeth. Alternatively, let your child sit on the sink – with your supervision, of course. This way they can see you and themselves in the mirror and they can imitate you. Make sure you exaggerate your motions, so that they can see how to brush. Tell your kids to brush like wheels – round and round – to encourage circular brushing instead of biting or chewing.
Make sure that your child is brushing every tooth. You may try counting or naming their teeth while you both brush to ensure that every tooth is clean. After you both have finished brushing, let your little one check your teeth while you “check” their teeth. This allows you to brush their teeth more thoroughly.
Sing or play music
Make up a brushing song, or use the alphabet as a measure of how long you and your child have been brushing. It also makes the whole brushing experience more fun. If you don’t have the musical gene, use “Brush DJ.” It will pull music from a specified playlist to play for two minutes while you and your child brush. If you do use music, stop singing or pause the music if your child stops brushing and let them know that it will continue when they start brushing again.
Bring out stuffed animals or toys and let your child watch you brush the toy’s teeth before you brush their teeth. If your child is independent and prefers to brush their own teeth, see if they’ll let you brush their teeth while they brush the stuffed animal’s teeth.
Make up silly games to encourage your children to brush. Getting them laughing or interested will make your job easier and their teeth healthier. Try a contest to see who can make the most bubbles, or play a game.
Use plaque disclosing agents to your advantage
You can get plaque disclosing mouthwash or tablets at your local drug store or dental office. These will turn the plaque in your child’s mouth either blue or red. This gives them a goal to aim for. When their teeth are white again, all of the bacteria have been cleaned out. Check when they’re done and praise them for the job that they did. Point out any areas that they missed and show them how to clean those areas better.
Don’t forget to floss
All the brushing in the world doesn’t reach between teeth and below the gumline, so make sure to teach your kids to floss. There are lots of different flossers available to help make flossing easier. Look at your local drug store or ask your dentist for recommendations.
Getting your child to brush and floss shouldn’t be an unpleasant chore every day. Be creative in coming up with ideas to make it a fun activity. Remember that teaching your child good oral hygiene will set them up with good habits and a healthy smile that will last them a lifetime.