Let’s face it﹘ taking care of your teeth just isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. On top of that, getting kids to care for their teeth can be a struggle sometimes. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve found to help make oral hygiene fun for everyone!
Tools to Get Excited About! Think about how excited your child gets when they see their favorite character. Maybe you can use this to get them excited about dental hygiene. Kids’ toothbrushes come in a wide variety of colors and styles, some with popular characters on them. Let your child pick which brush they like best, so that they can get excited to use it every morning and evening.
There are also many different flavors of kids’ toothpaste, and finding the one that your child prefers can make all the difference. If they complain about the mint flavors being “too cold” or that the other flavors “taste like medicine” then just opt for a different flavor. Buying a couple of extra tubes is well worth the cost if it means better brushing habits.
Make it a Family Affair. Kids love to do exactly what their parents do, and brushing and flossing as a family can become a bonding experience. Before your child heads off to bed, join them in caring for their teeth. That way they understand that everyone has to do this, and you can also guide them in the best techniques.
Timing is Everything. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. That can seem like a really long time when you’re a kid. Consider getting a two-minute timer to help your child keep track. There are many fun two-minute hourglass timers available that kids can turn over and watch the sand as they brush.
Another option is finding a song that your child likes (and you can tolerate listening to twice a day) that’s about two minutes long. You can explain that once the song starts you’ve got brush, brush, brush until the song is over!
Everyone Loves Stickers. If your child responds well to reward systems, consider creating one for oral hygiene habits. You can make a sticker chart for brushing and flossing, letting them pick a reward sticker whenever they’re done. This gives them something to look forward to, and it’s fun to see the chart fill up over time!
Teeth-themed Storytime. Read your child books about taking care of your teeth. There are lots of children’s picture books out there that tell a story about teeth. There’s a great list of teeth-themed children’s books here. Read one of these stories before bed, and then brush your teeth together, just like they talk about in the book!
Stay Patient. This is the most important tip of all. Getting children to care for their teeth can be hard sometimes. Just approach each cleaning session with a caring and patient attitude. If you show frustration on a regular basis, it may deter them from good habits now and down the road. It can be hard, but it’s so worth it to keep your child’s mouth healthy for a lifetime.