This time of year, your child is likely consuming lots of sugary treats like candy canes, cookies, cupcakes and more. While you know sugar is bad for your child’s smile, convincing them of that might be a little harder. Instead, focus on teaching them how taking good care of their teeth is good for them!
Teaching your child how to brush and floss daily will help them develop good habits that form the foundation of a healthy smile. Here are some ways you can help them make this daily habit more fun so they will look forward to it!
Your child likely loves to copy what you do. Brush your teeth with them for two minutes every morning and night (set a timer or play their favorite song). This will keep them moving the brush over each of their teeth to make sure no tooth is missed. Have them hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and press gently against the gum line, cleaning the bottom of the tooth all the way to the top and the back so all of the tooth surfaces are cleaned.
Tip: Give them soft-bristled child’s toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character or color and let them pick it out a kid-friendly toothpaste. Reward your child with a new toothbrush when they reach their goal of brushing every day for a set amount of days.
You should begin flossing your child’s teeth when two teeth are too close for their toothbrush to fit. Floss once a day to get rid of stuck food particles between teeth. You can use dental floss between the teeth, sliding gently back and forth and curving around each tooth, and wiping up and down in a C-shape. Children’s plastic flossers are also great and are made just for their little mouths. For older children, there are floss sticks in a variety of flavors and colors.
Tip: Keep a chart of your child’s daily brushing and flossing record and when they reach their goal, reward them with a fun sticker or toy.
Try these brushing and flossing tips to get your child on the daily oral hygiene bus:
– Rinse with a child-approved mouthwash: Some can change the color of dental plaque so your child can see where they still need to brush better.
– Enlist an oral hygiene buddy: Appoint your child as the dental caregiver for their favorite toy (a much-loved doll or stuffed animal). Arm them with a small toothbrush so they can practice on their toy while learning how to take care of their own chompers.
– Have a suds-and-bubble-making contest: Squeeze some extra toothbrush onto your brushes and then see who made the most bubbles when the timer goes off!
– Story time role play: Plaque and bacteria are the bad guys, and your child is the hero who has to brush and floss thoroughly to save their teeth. Of course, this is a daily battle they choose to win!
– Sing and/or dance in a bathroom karaoke: This performance is done while brushing to rid your child of excess wiggles and giggles while polishing their tiny chompers.
We hope you are inspired to turn your child’s oral health care into a fun daily practice! You are teaching them how to care for their smiles to serve them for the rest of their lives. For more information about taking care of your child’s oral health, please reach out to our pediatric dental team today!