Getting your kids to take care of their teeth can be hard, especially if they don’t enjoy the process of brushing. Children may brush their teeth because you tell them to but that doesn’t mean they won’t put up a fight or do it haphazardly when you’re not looking. Your pediatric dentist of Chattanooga knows just how important it is to get kids to brush their teeth on a regular basis. But if they can’t be convinced that it’s fun to do, they can miss out on the benefits of good oral hygiene. To help you along with this important responsibility, here are five ways to make tooth brushing fun for kids.
1. Brush Together
Joining your kids side-by-side at the sink during brushing time can help them brush more effectively. Brushing together can increase brushing time (aim for 2 minutes) and make kids less likely to neglect a part of their mouth or miss an area. Even when your children are older, brushing with them can help foster healthy habits and create good memories between you two.
2. Give Rewards
Several studies have shown, and your pediatric dentist of Chattanooga agrees, that dental care is often neglected by children who don’t recognize brushing and flossing as anything other than a necessary chore. However, a little creativity goes a long way toward making kids more likely to practice proper dental hygiene as they get older. Reward kids with small tokens such as a sticker chart. Once the chart is full, give your child a small gift such as an allowance or the ability to pick out a toy at the store.
3. Practice on Others
When a child is nervous about his first dental visit, your pediatric dentist may recommend that you play dentist at home. Simply allowing your child to be the dentist and their toy of choice to be the patient can make dentistry fun. The same thought can be used to make brushing more fun. Have your child use a clean toothbrush to show you how they would care for their toys’ teeth. Laugh and have a great time playing make-believe, and when it comes time for the real brushing, it should be a breeze.
4. Make it a Game
Another fun way to make brushing more than a boring chore is to make it into a game. You could play some music and dance while brushing your teeth with your little one. There’s even an app that has properly timed music, so you both know when to start and stop.
5. Start Early
One of the best ways to get your child used to teeth cleanings is to start early. Even before their first tooth appears, you should gently wipe their gums with a damp cloth after each feeding. Keeping this routine can help them adjust to brushing their teeth as they’ll be used to the feeling of something in their mouth. Additionally, make sure your child sees your pediatric dentist of Chattanooga no later than their first birthday.
A clean mouth is a happy mouth, and sometimes half the battle is giving children the chance to be happy to brush. Try the tips above, and if you still have trouble, talk with your pediatric dentist for more advice.