5 Tips to Motivate Kids to Take Care of Their Oral Health
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about the importance of taking care of their oral health. The sooner you start, the more likely they will develop good habits that will last a lifetime.
Here are five tips to help motivate your kids to take care of their teeth and gums!
1. Make Brushing and Flossing Fun
Brushing and flossing are essential oral care activities for anyone, particularly the kids. Brushing helps remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that accumulate on the teeth after eating. Flossing, meanwhile, cleans those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth where brushing can’t reach.
However, these aren’t the most fun things to do for children. To motivate them to brush and floss, you can use a timer. This timer will make brushing and flossing more of a game for them as they race against the clock to finish. You can also make it into a competition between siblings or friends.
Using flavored toothpaste and dental floss is another way to make brushing and floss more fun. There are numerous toothpaste flavors available in the market these days, so get your kid one that they will love.
For flossing, you can make it easier for the kids to get in between their teeth by using a kid-friendly flosser that sprays water. The water pressure will help dislodge any food particles or plaque stuck between the teeth.
2. Bring Them to a Pediatric Dentist for Checkups
While you can bring your kid to any dentist practitioner, a pediatric or children’s dentist is the best one. This specialist works on the oral health needs of children. They can provide advice and tips on motivating your kids to take care of their teeth and answer any questions you may have about these things.
A pediatric dental clinic also provides a conducive environment for children. It is often colorful and lively, with fun decorations all around. The furniture inside the clinic is also designed for children’s use to make them feel more comfortable.
Moreover, your kid will likely be calmer during a checkup or procedure if they are in a pediatric dental clinic rather than an adult one. It will be easier for the dentist to conduct a thorough examination.
Finally, pediatric dentists are more likely to have the latest and most modern equipment for children’s oral health care. Their clinics also tend to be cleaner and better-maintained than regular dental offices since they cater primarily to kids.
3. Set a Good Example
One of the best ways to motivate your kids to take care of their oral health is by setting a good example. If you brush and floss regularly, they will be more likely to do so as well.
You can make your oral care routine a family affair. For example, you can brush your teeth with them and play a fun song while doing so. You can also touch together in front of the mirror for everyone to see.
It’s also vital that you avoid showing them that you’re afraid of the dentist. This can make them feel scared or anxious about dental visits. Instead, try to be upbeat when talking about the dentist.
4. Let Them Choose Their Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Another way to motivate your kids to take care of their oral health is by letting them choose the toothbrush and toothpaste they want. This will make brushing more fun for them as they get excited about using new things.
Younger children, for example, can pick a toothbrush with a character or animal on it, while older ones can use a brush with a more grown-up design. Either way, you want to pick something gentle on their teeth and gums like those with soft bristles.
As for the toothpaste, you can let them choose their favorite flavor as long as they are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). The best kinds of toothpaste for kids two years old and above are fluoride.
5. Praise Them for Doing a Great Job
Whenever your kid does an excellent job in taking care of their oral health, be sure to praise them for it. It will make them feel proud and motivated to do more.
You can give them verbal encouragement and tokens like small toys, stickers, or treats. Just make sure that these rewards are not too sugary or sticky, which can cause more harm to their teeth.
Meanwhile, if your kid is older, you can give them a more practical reward like an allowance or something they’ve wanted for quite some time.
Many kids are notorious for being impatient, stubborn, and resistant to change. As parents, you need to exercise patience when teaching kids about dental health. The good news is these tips will hopefully make the process easier and even more fun.