One of the huge battles parents can face with young and older children is good dental hygiene. What is it about younger children not wanting to brush their teeth?
It’s crazy! However, I’m sure when we were their age we were just as defiant.
So how do you encourage good dental practices?
How do you make sure that those teeth are protected so that there are no major problems in the future? With those questions whirling around many parents’ heads, I thought I should share with you some tips and advice.
Hopefully, this will encourage the whole family to take good care of their teeth. The younger you try and incorporate some of this advice, the better their dental health will be in the future.
Lead By Example
One of the best things you can do when it comes to good dental hygiene is to lead by example.
If your children see you regularly brushing your teeth and taking care of them they will be more likely to do it themselves.
They also can’t argue with the fact that you do these things, as if they hadn’t witnessed it they may feel like it is unfair to make them do something you wouldn’t do yourself.
Make sure they see you regularly brushing your teeth and eating the right foods and drinks.
There is no denying that the younger you start good dental habits the less confrontation you will get as they get older. You need to introduce teeth brushing once the teeth are visible.
As a baby, they may not necessarily brush them properly. But what it does is help them to understand the importance and also develop the habit and routine to do it.
At a young age, they may only have the toothbrush in their mouths and chew it. You can show them what to do and do it for them initially.
As they get to about age 2, they will start to learn to spit after brushing and develop better habits.
Making it part of their morning and bedtime routine means that you can help them to be less confrontational overall.
Make Brushing Fun
While we know as parents that brushing your teeth is essential to good dental care, your children may not share the same view. They can see brushing their teeth like a bit of a chore. It’s something that takes too much time and effort.
So a great tip is to make this part of the routine a little more fun for your child. Making the teeth brushing process more engaging to their mind and imagination.
Tablets and smartphones are an excellent aid to this. There are many applications you can download now. They tend to cover the two minutes recommended brushing time, while showing something fun and imaginative to your child.
Popular characters from Disney and other cartoons can all feature. So you are bound to find something that will ignite the interests of your child.
Younger children may not be able to concentrate too much on a tablet. This is where you as the parent need to get a little creative.
Some parents recommend making up a little song that you sing while brushing your teeth. It could be funny, sweet, fast, or slow. Whatever you think will spark up interest within your child.
Let Your Children Pick Out Their Toothbrushes
An excellent way to motivate your children to brush their teeth more is to let them pick out their own toothbrush or toothpaste.
When it comes to choosing toothpaste, make sure it has fluoride content in it. This helps protect the enamel on your teeth and fight the battle against tooth decay.
Children love to choose their own tools for things. It’s just like when they want a drink from a certain cup, or their food on a particular plate. So it’s fair to assume that they will get some joy out of using the toothbrush they specifically picked out.
Introduce The Dentist As Soon As You Can
Many of us know that we should book dentist appointments the moment our children develop teeth. But sometimes this can get abandoned or you don’t keep up with regular health checks.
If your children don’t visit the dentist in regular intervals then they can become fearful of the appointments, or you run the risk of them needing extra dental support and treatments for things like plaque or cavities.
Try and maintain a structure with seeing the dentist every six months.
A good overview from the dentist can encourage children to keep up the good work when it comes to brushing their teeth at home.
Watch What The Family Eats and Drinks
A lot of the damage that can be done to teeth starts with what your family consumes with food and drink. So be mindful of this when it comes to their diets.
Make sure they drink water as much as possible and avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks. If you allow those drinks then try and keep them as one-offs or treats.
The food they consume can be just as harmful, and again sugary foods can be a big culprit. But there are other foods to be aware of such as ones that can be quite acidic.
A great tip is to encourage teeth brushing after eating meals. If that isn’t possible you can ask them to rinse their mouths with water.
Keep a Positive Attitude
It’s easy to become disheartened about your child’s behavior or lack of enthusiasm for things. The same can easily be applied to the brushing teeth scenario. It can feel relentless to continue asking them and encouraging them to brush their teeth.
However, in this instance, you must remain positive about the whole thing. The minute children can sense anger or frustration, the further away they will be from doing the task.
Keep positive and always encourage.
Over time, implementing some of these tips should help you see a big improvement in your child’s and family’s dental hygiene.
Vickie aka The Crazy Family Mom
Vickie is the creator of A Crazy Family. She is a stay-at-home mom of a little boy with a big personality. She loves to share real food recipes, parenting tips & encouragement, fun kids activities, and so much more! Plus she is thrilled to provide you with a space to celebrate all that is awesome (and a little crazy) in the world.