Parents often face the dilemma of having to teach their children about proper dental hygiene. It is understandable because many children are yet to see the importance of brushing their teeth. They would often look at it as an additional chore that they have to do. However, parents must not take this as an excuse. They have to become persistent in introducing dental hygiene to their children because, if not, their children are at risk for developing periodontal diseases.
Parents should also understand that most insurance companies do not recognize dental diseases as part of their coverage. So, how do you encourage your children to have proper dental hygiene? Here are some useful tips that you can do for your child:
Brush Your Teeth Together
One of the most effective ways to have your child get invested in oral care is if they can do it with you. Remember, most children want to copy what their parents do, and they would be highly encouraged if they can do this particular activity with you. While brushing your teeth together, make sure to show or demonstrate to your child the proper brushing technique, including cleaning the tongue. After brushing, you can assist your child in flossing their teeth. If they are still too young to do it, you can do it for them. It would also help if you incorporated a rhyme that you can hum or sing along while brushing your teeth.
Allow Your Child to Choose Their Toothbrush
Include your children in the decision-making process of choosing their toothbrush. When they can choose their toothbrush, it would be easier to encourage them to make this activity part of their routine. Children can be more participative if they have a say in the items they would use. Let them choose their favorite cartoon character. You can then use this to encourage your child to clean their teeth more often with their special brush.
Time Their Brushing Time
According to the American Dental Association, the appropriate brushing time must be two minutes at least twice a day. Let your children know that they should follow this by using a brightly colored sand timer. Or you can let your child sing a favorite song and have them repeat it several times while they brush their teeth. While you are teaching your child, don’t rush them or force them to brush their teeth. You have to be patient with them. For them, the activity may seem foreign still so you have to be patient.
Use a Special Toothpaste
You know how kids would want to have their very own items, those that they can call their own? Often, parents need to let their kids have their own toothpaste, with the flavor that is more appealing to them. Of course, your children wouldn’t like it if they have to endure the minty taste of your adult toothpaste. Let them have a strawberry flavored toothpaste. There is also some toothpaste that is formulated to work better on children’s teeth. These ones often have lower levels of fluoride.
Read and Watch About Oral Care
Sometimes, children can relate to things when they see or read about the possible consequences of not having proper dental hygiene when they see from other children. They would think that if it can happen to other children within their age group, it would most likely happen to them as well. There are tons of child-friendly books and videos that you can have them watch. Make sure to explain the stories in context to your children so it would be easier for them to retain the information.
Have a Reward System
Reward systems work, no matter what your child’s age is. To encourage them to brush their teeth regularly, you can come up with a reward system for their oral care. Make sure to include activities that promote oral health, such as eating healthy snacks or drinking plenty of water. Once they complete a week of good oral care, they can have a toy or a playdate with friends.
Bring Them to the Dentist
One of the best ways to encourage good oral care is to bring your child to a dentist. Let them have regular dental cleanings. With a dentist, they can ask questions that would help them better understand the importance of oral hygiene. You can inform the dentist that you are in the process of introducing proper hygiene to your child and your dentist will be a great help with that. In fact, they may be more than willing to introduce oral hygiene to your child.
Teach your children early on and make sure to set the proper example for them as well. If we don’t show them that oral care is essential, then they wouldn’t think it is.