Kids want to have fun. From the time they wake up until nap time, they are playing, learning, and growing. Scientists say that the vast majority of learning which will take place in our lifetime happens before puberty. This makes it a perfect time in the life of your child to institute great oral hygiene habits.
Using a kids imagination can help make brushing teeth into an exciting adventure. Having your kids open their mouth like a hippopotamus or a roaring lion encourages them to brush those back teeth. Kids tend to focus on their front teeth, the teeth that they can see. This means improper bushing of the molars. Tell them to get all of their “lion teeth” when they brush.
Picking a fun toothbrush makes kids more excited to brush their teeth. Whether it is Nemo, Elsa, dinosaurs, or My Little Ponies, picking a toothbrush your kids will enjoy makes the brushing process more like a game. More fun = more likely to do. Kids toothbrushes need to have a smaller head for their little mouths and will have soft bristles.
There are many apps and websites which are specially geared to help kids want to brush their teeth. Two of the largest toothpaste companies have “sing-a-long” videos which play for two minutes. When the song is over the child is done brushing. The videos have animated characters making them fun for kids of many ages. Similar apps are available through app stores. They will play a song or keep a musical timer to keep your kid on track.
Adults and kids have different taste buds. Your toothpaste may taste refreshing to you, but to a seven year old it is “icky.” Kids toothpaste comes in many different flavors, often with beloved characters on the tube. By letting your kids pick their own toothpaste, they get to be grown up and make a decision. They relive the excitement when they use the toothpaste they picked out by themselves. Keep in mind, the toothpaste they pick should still be approved by the American Dental Association.
Having oral hygiene occur at the same time everyday creates consistency. Set it at a time that will be convenient throughout the week. If bedtime is 8pm, teeth brushing could be at 7:30. Or, it could be right before story time and it could be right after potty time in the morning.
Kids love to imitate their parents. Whatever mommy and daddy do, kids will want to do too. If you take good care of your teeth, they are more likely to take care of their own. Teach your kids how to make sure they got all of their teeth and help them out until they are able to brush on their own.
Just like potty training, oral hygiene skills need to be taught. It takes patience, but is infinitely valuable in life. Remember that kids teeth, especially baby teeth, do not need to be brushed hard, just thoroughly. Do not skip days, bad patterns are more easily picked up than positive ones.
Copyright Dr.Jean-Jacques Edderai 2015