Published on April 12, 2019, Updated on April 12, 2019
For many pediatric dental patients, going to the dentist can be a scary experience. For young kids that are just learning how to take care of their oral health, there can be a lot of questions, too, that they may need help with. Fortunately, there are many ways to teach children that caring for their oral health can not only be a healthy thing to do, but a fun experience! Many dental products are available to mix up your child’s dental hygiene regimen, such as using fruit and bubble-gum flavored toothpaste or a fun toothbrush with your child’s favorite cartoon character on it. As children see that taking care of their teeth can be fun, your experience as a parent will improve, as well, as your child begins learning how to manage their oral health on their own. Find out what ideas you can implement into your child’s dental hygiene routine to make brushing their teeth a fun experience!
For healthy and happy mouths, dental and orthodontic visits are a must, especially for young children. Having regular checkups can allow the dentist/orthodontist to monitor your child’s teeth, detect hidden dental problems, and monitor the progress of facial and jaw development. Even if your child has no obvious dental issues, it is important to have semi-annual checkups to ensure that your child’s mouth structure is developing properly. While these visits are encouraged every six months, your child’s dental routine should be an everyday experience in which they develop correct brushing and flossing habits. For many children, though, brushing and flossing their teeth is boring, which makes it difficult for them to understand just how important it is for their developing teeth. It is important that parents teach their children that brushing their teeth is just as important as washing their hands, and being an example for children is one of the first steps a parent should take to encourage good oral health habits in their children. Proper brushing and flossing protects teeth and gums, but also prevents bad breath and tartar build-up. Making this process a fun one will encourage little ones to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime while giving them a beautiful smile at the same time.
As any parent knows, helping your child brush and floss their teeth each day can be a strenuous experience. Kids get inpatient with the monotony of brushing, and flossing teeth can be hard for little hands and fingers. To help your child enjoy their oral health regimen, start by brushing and flossing your teeth together. Children mimic their parents, so brushing your teeth alongside them will not only give them a good example to follow but also allow you to monitor their skills while giving a helping hand, when needed. Small things can make a big difference in a child’s life, so try using a special toothbrush with their favorite cartoon or movie character on it to keep their interest while brushing. Although simple, it can turn boring into fun when a child can pretend they’re brushing with their favorite TV character. Mixing up the toothpaste that you buy can also have an impact on a child’s brushing habits. Your young one may not like your mint-flavored toothpaste, but he/she will love a watermelon or bubblegum-flavored toothpaste that you can get from any grocery or convenience store! You could also try making a dance party out of your child’s brushing time by picking their favorite song to listen to while they brush their teeth. This will help the time pass more quickly and children can look forward to their nightly dance party before bed.
Children love stories, so try making an original story that involves them brushing their teeth while being the hero of the story. Maybe they’re Princess Enamel trying to rescue their kingdom from an evil sorcerer, or cavity dragons are attacking their teeth and the only way to defend them is by brushing them. Your child’s oral hygiene routine doesn’t need to be boring! If your child likes rewards, make a poster on which they can put a gold star every time they brush and floss their teeth. You can decorate the poster with pictures of teeth, toothbrushes, and even healthy snacks to incentivize them to brush so that they can pick a reward once they complete each task.
As mentioned, good oral health habits start in the home and are developed through practice and example. Especially for small children, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush each tooth in small circles to get the most out of the cleaning. Make sure to help your child brush the chewing surfaces and insides of their teeth, along with scrubbing their tongue. Flossing is an additional, but necessary, step in ensuring good oral health for your child. Kid-friendly flossers are available to avoid hurting the gums but making sure that the crevices between teeth are free of plaque and food particles. Additionally, staying on top of your child’s dental visits (and orthodontic, when needed) will allow your dentist to monitor your child’s teeth eruption and development while simultaneously prevent any buildup on teeth, which can cause cavities.
For more information on how to make brushing and flossing a fun experience for children, contact Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics at (720) 887-6003! Our devoted team has years of experience to help you improve your child’s oral health in the simplest and most fun ways possible!