Your children look up to you in every way, and the ways they approach the world stem from what you teach them. Because of this, your children’s dental health lies in your hands. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to inspire excellent oral hygiene in children. They can’t process the full extent of what oral hygiene during childhood will accomplish throughout their lives, so brushing and flossing seem like a tedious, pointless step in a day that they could spend somewhere else. Today, our Temple, Texas pediatric dentist discusses how our practice helps make brushing and flossing fun for your kids. A stable foundation of dental knowledge during a child’s development will enable him to better care for their teeth for the rest of their lives.
Teeth get covered with plaque every time we eat or drink anything. When bacteria in the plaque break down food into sugars (including starches like pretzels, bread, and pasta), the teeth face an acid attack! This acid attack leaches minerals out of teeth and weakens their structure. The first sign of this weakening can be chalky-white spots on the teeth. If this process continues, the tooth enamel breaks, and a cavity is born! Even in baby teeth, untreated cavities can lead to pain and swelling.
Brushing all the surfaces of the teeth to take pesky plaque off takes about 2 minutes. We know that two minutes can seem like a long time, and not all kids can easily sit through 2 minutes of brushing their teeth. One idea is to get a bright-colored sand timer that will not only get your child excited to brush but will become a game to make sure they brush until the timer ends. Or you can pick a song to listen to and have some fun while brushing. There are many possibilities to get your child to brush for the recommended time. Children respond well to creativity.
Another tactic to keep your child’s interest in oral hygiene is with a new, fun toothbrush. Purchase a special toothbrush for your child that fits smaller hands and features a color or character that your child likes. At Canyon Creek Dentistry, we make brushing fun with themed toothbrushes like Winnie the Pooh and Spiderman. The same sentiment goes for picking out toothpaste. Your child may not be interested in your minty toothpaste, but they will look forward to cleaning their teeth with their strawberry, bubblegum, or watermelon-flavored toothpaste.
If you have older kids, make it competitive. Healthy and friendly competition can be a good incentive for good brushing. If you have more than one child, count up how many “sugar bugs” they get rid of and see who gets the most. The “winner” receives a small prize like a dollar store toy or a sticker. Make sure everyone gets a turn to win, so it stays fun and fair. Another fun competition can have the kids brush until the end of the 2 minutes without stopping. Whoever stops first loses. Giving prizes for brushing without being asked is also an excellent way to provide friendly competition between children and their parents.
If your kids learn to think of oral hygiene as a fun and vital part of the day, their dental health attitudes will develop positively. They may even enjoy trips to the dentist! We hope to help every young patient find dental health pleasant. Schedule an appointment today!