One of the best ways to help children embrace dental care, whether at home or at our office, is to help them realize how fun it can be. It’s not enough to convince children that brushing and flossing are necessary. It’s equally important that children enjoy themselves. With this mindset, they can practice good oral hygiene on their own without your constant guidance.
Some of the parents and guardians of our young patients ask us how to make dental care fun for children. So we’re going to share some tips here:
1. Let them help choose their own toothbrushes and toothpastes. Children feel much better about activities in which they have a say. Limit the choices to toothbrushes with soft bristles, and to toothpastes that come with the seal of approval from the American Dental Association.
2. Brush your teeth together with your child. Children tend to mimic, so they can brush their teeth properly just by copying you. And don’t forget to brush your tongue.
3. Make brushing fun. Smile a lot, or make funny faces. You can even have your own song for tooth brushing.
4. Watch lots of videos about cleaning and caring for the teeth. Some of them even feature songs that are just long enough to last an entire tooth-brushing session (about 2 minutes). You can find many of these videos online, and you can play them on your tablet by the sink as the two of you brush your teeth together.
5. You can also use a special timer when brushing your teeth so you can make sure you brush for 2 minutes. Timers using sand tend to fascinate children, or you can get special apps with bright colors and sound effects.
6. You can also implement a reward system so your child will continue to brush regularly. You can place a poster that shows the number of times they brush their teeth by adding a sticker each time they brush. The stickers can be dental care related, with images of teeth, toothbrushes, or even healthy snacks.
Children need to develop good oral care habits so they’ll maintain those habits into adulthood.