Posted on August 30, 2013
We all want our children to have healthy teeth and find creative ways to promote good oral hygiene habits. Let’s look at some tips from the dental experts that we can use to encourage brushing and good oral care in our children.
- Set a good example! Let your children see you and your family’s good brushing habits. Make it a routine in your day so they can see that it is expected and a good habit to practice. A ritual will become a habit. Teach your child during this time how to correctly hold the brush and get to all those hidden places they need to reach. As they get older, you can also teach them how to use dental floss and teach them the importance of removing all those food particles between teeth that a toothbrush can miss.
- Choose the right toothpaste! Let’s face it, kids are particular in their tastes and may not prefer the minty menthol taste that we as adults may prefer. Look for fruit flavors, or maybe a tube with their favorite cartoon characters on it. If spongebob brushes with them, maybe this will be an incentive for them to brush. Try to make brushing a pleasure and not a chore.
- Use a toothbrush timer. It takes 2 to 3 minutes for a thorough brushing. By using a timer we can be sure that our children are brushing for their full amount of time. Implementing a timer may also make brushing more of a game for them by becoming a fun challenge.
- Eat healthy! Junk food and sugary snacks are difficult to keep away from our kids, but can cause a lot of damage to their teeth. Try to encourage healthy snacks and stay away from sweet sodas and drinks. Explain to your children that too many bad food choices will make their teeth look terrible. Teach them healthy choices, such as exchanging a carrot for a candy bar, and fresh water instead of soda.
- Start dental visits early! Remember that the earlier children start the routine of regular dental check ups, the more likely it will become a life long habit for them. Your Phoenix dentist recommends that the first dental visit should be at the age of 1. Take your child to your family dentist at least twice a year for check ups and more frequently if they are having problems with their teeth. Here again, example is key. Let your child see you going to the dentist as well. Make it a family dental appointment, which will teach children that it is a normal course of action. Your fear of the dentist can cause your children to be afraid as well. Making appointments together is something your family dentist in Phoenix would highly recommend.
- Incentives! Always reward children’s good habits and they will continue. Use these incentives when they brush properly and even when they make good food choices, like choosing a healthy snack over a candy bar. The experts always recommend positive reinforcement, since it can lead to your child’s commitment to good dental and oral care and become a habit as they grow into adulthood.