If you have a child, you’ll know how hard it can be to get them to brush their teeth. You’ll also know that it’s even harder to get them to go to the dentist. However, as difficult as it is, you must find some way to get them to incorporate these tasks into their routine.
It is extremely important for children to establish good dental habits. As they get older, these habits will help them develop healthy and strong teeth, reducing their need for invasive procedures and setting them up for a life of good oral health.
To help you out, we’re going to discuss five ways to encourage your child to develop healthy dental hygiene habits.
- Brush your teeth together
If your child is under the age of six, they’ll likely need some assistance with brushing. As such, it’s a good idea to get them to brush their teeth at the same time as you.
Brushing your teeth with your child has several benefits. First, it allows you to supervise them. You can teach them how to hold their toothbrush correctly, what brushing techniques to use, and how long they should brush for.
The second advantage is that it helps them get into the routine of brushing their teeth. As you may know, most children emulate what their parents do, especially at a very young age. By involving them in your brushing routine, eventually they’ll develop the habit of brushing their teeth on their own at certain times of the day.
- Let them choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste
Most children refuse to brush their teeth because it simply isn’t fun. However, if you can bring excitement and joy in the activity, it’ll be a lot easier to get your children to brush their pearly whites.
One way of doing this is getting them to choose their own toothbrush. There are plenty of branded dental products from their favourite books, TV shows, movies, or video games. These special toothbrushes will make them look forward to brushing their teeth every morning and every night.
Another way is to choose a flavoured toothpaste. Some children may be put off by dental routines because of the taste of regular toothpaste. Indeed, due to sodium laureth sulphate (SLS), most regular pastes taste a little bitter.However, if you can find a toothpaste that your child can enjoy (or at least tolerate), it’ll be a lot easier for them to brush their teeth on a daily basis.
If they’re using a flavored toothpaste beware of the sugar levels and make sure that they don’t swallow too much of it. Doing so could lead to unhealthy levels of fluoride, which can actually damage their teeth.
- Use music to keep track of time
Another thing you can do is to use song and music to keep track of time and to make the activity more fun. Play a cheerful song that lasts for two minutes. Once the song ends, you’ll know that they’ve brushed for long enough.
Alternatively, the both of you can hum a song together. This will get them more involved in the activity and therefore more interested in brushing their teeth.
- If you’re going to the dentist, take them with you
When it’s time to go to the dentist, see if you can get your child to come with you. Just like brushing your teeth together, going to the dentist together can help your child build a habit of visiting a dental professional regularly.
If they don’t like going to the dentist, see if you can plan a fun activity afterwards. For example, you can tell your child that after they go to the dentist, you’ll take them to the park or the beach. This will help them associate the dentist with positive emotions which will then result in them being more willing to go with you.
- Go to a child-friendly dental clinic
Even for adults, a dental clinic can be an anxiety-inducing place. If your child is seemingly afraid of the dentist, see if you can find a child-friendly dental clinic that can help alleviate their fears.
For example, pediatric dental clinics will likely have aesthetics that will appeal to children. This might help them forget their fear or, at the very least, distract them from it for a while. Additionally, the staff at such clinics will be trained in keeping children calm and happy during their procedures.
Always try to find certified practitioners that are up to date with the latest dental hygiene practices. Modern dental solutions are typically more tolerable for both children and adults.
There you have it, five ways to help your child develop healthy dental habits. The earlier you can get them on the right path, the better. When they get older, they’ll be grateful that you taught them how to take care of their teeth. Healthy dental habits will not only help your child avoid serious oral diseases, but it might also help them avoid invasive or expensive dental procedures.