How Parents Can Help Kids Develop Good Dental Hygiene
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Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy smile and overall health. Teaching children the importance of brushing, flossing, and visiting their pediatric dentist regularly can help prepare kids for a lifetime of strong oral health. As parents, there are many things you can do to ensure your child develops good dental hygiene habits. You can help your child establish the foundation for good oral health with knowledge, guidance, and encouragement.
Educate your child about dental hygiene.
Teaching your child the value of oral health is crucial to help them form healthy dental hygiene practices. Describe the benefits of brushing and flossing and how routine dental appointments can help identify and stop any issues. Show them examples of healthy teeth, as well as unhealthy teeth that poor dental habits have damaged. Let them know that taking good care of their teeth and gums is vital for overall health.
Allow them to choose their toothbrush.
Toothbrushes come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing kids to make personal choices that can help engage them in caring for their teeth. When kids are more involved in selecting the tool they will use to take care of their teeth, it can help empower them and make brushing their teeth more enjoyable.
Parents can also demonstrate proper toothbrushing techniques to their children, allowing them to learn how best to care for their teeth from a young age. Your child is sure to choose their favorite among the many adorable character children’s toothbrushes available. They could be more motivated to brush their teeth as a result.
Get creative with dental games.
Encourage children to clean the teeth of their teddy animals. Games like “Toothbrush Twister” and “Brush the Bunny” can help kids learn proper brushing techniques while enjoying themselves. Parents can also encourage children to brush for two minutes with a timer or smartphone app or reward them with stickers for brushing their teeth daily.
Try a special toothbrush.
Look for toothbrushes with entertaining designs or their favorite colors. Kids will love the unique colors and patterns of special available toothbrushes. They also feature bristles explicitly designed for children’s smaller teeth and gums. Some of these toothbrushes have timers built in, helping kids brush for the full two minutes experts recommend. With these special toothbrushes, kids can learn to develop healthy brushing habits while having fun.
Teach them to floss with Duplo blocks.
Ask your child to use floss to remove the Play-Doh stuck around the base (the teeth) and the building blocks. Use the flat surface of a Duplo block as a guide for the child and demonstrate how they should move the floss up and down each side of their teeth. Once your child has mastered this, you can even have them practice flossing with their mouth closed so they can get used to the sensation. Not only will it help them learn, but it can also be a fun activity that you can do together. Additionally, teaching your child how to floss with Duplo blocks is great for those who find traditional flossing difficult due to braces or wide gaps between teeth. Using Duplo blocks makes maneuvering the floss easier and getting into harder-to-reach spots.
Choose a brushing song.
This can make teeth-brushing time more fun and engaging for them. When selecting the tune, it helps to pick something with a consistent rhythm that’s about two minutes long – the length of time dentists recommends brushing one’s teeth.
Parents should consider their children’s age and musical preferences when picking a brushing song. For instance, if their child loves rap music, they might choose a track with a catchy beat that encourages kids to brush along with the rhythm. Alternatively, parents of younger children could select upbeat tracks from cartoons or television programs their kids watch.
Share brushing books or videos with your kids.
You might share books or videos about brushing and flossing with your kids to help them understand why these oral hygiene practices are essential. Books can help kids understand why brushing and flossing are important for oral health, and videos can show kids how to brush and floss properly. Parents should always supervise young children when they are brushing, so that they learn the correct technique. Regularly reminding kids why it is important to keep their teeth clean will help them build good habits for life.
Implement a reward system.
This can be done by creating a chart with activities such as brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist. Each time your child completes an activity, they can receive a sticker or check mark on their chart. Your child can receive a special prize or treat when the chart is full. Rewards help motivate kids to stay on track with their dental hygiene and can be adjusted as needed to meet your child’s individual needs. Other incentives like “star charts” or small prizes also encourage proper dental hygiene habits. By taking the time to introduce a reward system, it is more likely that kids will develop healthy brushing and flossing habits.
Make a fun check-up at the dentist visit.
Parents can make their kid’s dentist experience more enjoyable by involving them in the process. Beforehand, discuss what they can expect at the appointment and focus on positive aspects. Let your child know that the staff are there to help them care for their teeth better. You can also make a game from the visit by having your child count how many instruments and tools the dentist or hygienist uses. After the appointment, you might reward them with an activity they enjoy or some of their favorite snacks.
*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.