After months of teething, it’s exciting (and relieving) to see your baby’s first pearly white tooth emerge from below the gums. But that’s just the beginning! Parents are the guardians of their children’s oral health. You may brush their teeth and floss for them and schedule their dental cleanings, but as time passes, your child takes more and more responsibility for their own oral health. Eventually, you may just supervise while your child does all the brushing.
But until that moment 一 which, could be anywhere from 8-10 years, when children don’t need your help to brush 一 it can be hard to rouse excitement about oral health. Our team providers know good habits start early, and building excitement about oral health can help make those habits stick in childhood and beyond.
Here are five strategies to boost excitement about oral health.
One of the easiest ways to boost excitement is to select fun dental supplies. Or better yet, let your child pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste flavor! You can find many different options featuring your child’s favorite TV or literary characters. A fun character-inspired toothbrush and a new toothpaste flavor are small changes that can make kids more excited to brush.
Is toothbrushing a tedious chore for your child? Apps can be another way to instill excitement while serving a practical purpose. Depending on which app you choose, you can:
Even if you don’t want to download an app, you can still benefit from technology to help your child feel excited and motivated when brushing. The American Dental Association (ADA) has curated a list of family-friendly songs to play. Each song is at least two minutes long to ensure your child brushes for the proper length of time.
Planning a trip to your local library can help your child learn more about tooth anatomy, cavities, and the importance of oral hygiene. Younger kids may enjoy picture books, while older kids could read more in-depth books.
Let your child choose the dental hygiene books that excite them and spend time reading them together at bedtime.
Modeling good oral hygiene is a good way to instill the habit in your children. You can play a fun song and have a (mini) dance party while you brush your teeth. When children see their parents model proper brushing and flossing, it becomes ingrained as a daily routine, rather than a tedious chore.
Though you may need to periodically remind older children to brush their teeth, toddlers are arguably the trickiest age group to get excited about dental care. For some, they may not like the flavor of their toothpaste, or they may not like the feel of their toothbrush. (Always use age-appropriate sized toothbrushes with soft bristles.)
If your child falls into this category, consider creating a reward system for brushing. The concept of rewarding good behavior can be brought to life in many ways. You may simply make a sticker chart. For every X number of stickers, your child could earn a small reward, whether that’s extra screen time, a treasure box toy, or a special treat.
In addition to building excitement for daily oral care, it’s important to show excitement for routine dental care too. Let your child know the importance of routine visits, such as cleaner teeth.
Here are a few additional ways to make trips to Supertooth Dental Group more fun for your child:
As pediatric dentists, we are experienced when it comes to working with children, and it’s our mission to make sure that their needs are met and that a trip to the dentist isn’t scary for them or stressful for you. To learn more about pediatric dentistry, call our Bethesda, Gaithersburg, or Germantown, Maryland, offices to schedule your child’s next appointment.