Oral hygiene is important, the earlier you get started with good habits, the better. So, how do you start your child out with good habits you ask? It can seem to be a daunting task; however, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help your child get on the path to good oral hygiene.
Start by Making it Fun
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for a full two minutes, set up a routine that will make this a fun two minutes for you and your child. Play a special song, let your child first brush their favorites stuffed animal’s teeth, make funny faces at each other in the mirror, or download an app that plays a game while brushing your teeth.
Make is Special
Let your child pick their toothbrush, having a special toothbrush that they look forward to using will help them get excited. Pick a toothpaste with a flavor that they like, if you have multiple kids and they each like a different flavor, go with it. The benefit, they will feel special that they get their own tube of toothpaste that is all their own and if they like the flavor, they are more likely to brush.
Set an Example
The best place to start is by setting an example. Brush in front of your child, let them see you brushing, for the full two minutes, using the proper technique. Your child is more likely to follow your example, the more often they see you brushing and brushing the right way, the more likely they are to emulate your behavior.
If your child has a tooth, they can start brushing. Now, your child probably isn’t ready to brush their teeth at this age, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do it for them. Get your child used to the feeling of the tooth brush in the mouth. At this young age, you don’t need to start with toothpaste, just the brush, but the younger your child is when they get stated, the more natural of a behavior this is and will be.
Keep it Positive
Don’t threaten your child with having to go to the dentist, especially if they don’t brush their teeth. You don’t want to make the dentist seem like a scary place or a punishment. You want to teach your child that brushing, and the dentist are positive things and build life-long habits.
If nothing else works, rewards can be a last resort. It’s not a bribe, it is a reward for making good decisions. Does your child need an extra incentive to brush? Adding rewards can be the way to do this, whether it is a sticker or a reward chart, stick to what works for your child. Sometimes it may even be as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.
With a little creativity, your child may even come to look forward to brushing teeth. Encouraging good dental practices does not have to be a chore that everyone hates. Make it a favorite part of their day!
Have any questions on how to get your child to brush their teeth? Contact us today!