7 Tips To Make Oral Hygiene Fun For Your Child
Making sure your child develops good oral hygiene habits from a young age is crucial for all kinds of reasons, including – perhaps surprisingly – their overall health. However, trying to convince a young child to brush their teeth, floss, and otherwise take care of their own dental care as much as possible can be a challenging thing to do, but, much like many other things a parent needs to do for their child, if you can make oral hygiene fun for your child, that could be what makes all the difference. Read on to find out the 7 tips to make oral hygiene fun for your child ensure you can do that, and that your child has the best dental health they can.
1. Turn Brushing Into Playtime
One of the best ways to make oral hygiene fun for young children is to turn it into a game of some sort – or to make it fun and playful in another way. What about playing their favorite music during brushing time, or even going further and creating a brushing dance routine? In that way, not only is it something fun, but it's also memorable (they'll remember that feeling of spending fun time with you well into adulthood) and, as an added bonus, it's also physical movement, which is good for their health anyway – you can't go wrong!
You might also want to turn teeth brushing into a game by challenging your child to brush for the whole time their favorite song is playing. Again, as well as being fun, you'll be able to ensure that they brush for the right amount of time (find a song that's about two minutes long because that's how long they should be brushing for – if the song's longer than two minutes, time it, get them to stop at the right moment, and then have a dance competition or something similar).
2. Choose The Right Toothbrush And Toothpaste
When you make choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste a fun and exciting experience, it can positively impact your child's teeth and how they can (and want to) take care of them. Take your child shopping and let them pick out their own toothbrush with their favorite color or perhaps a character they love from TV. In the past, this wouldn't have been possible – toothbrushes were pretty boring and standard, coming in a few colors but nothing special – but today it's different, and it's highly likely you'll find a beloved cartoon character on a toothbrush to make the whole process a lot more appealing.
Then there's the toothpaste. Again, it used to be just minty flavors, and most toothpastes were similar in different packaging. The difference now is that you don't have to choose mint, which can be huge when persuading your child to brush their teeth. The fact is that mint can be a bit harsh for kids, and they'll be put off the oral hygiene process because of the 'spicy' taste. So if you can find a toothpaste in a flavor they like (strawberry is a good option, for example) they'll be much more likely to be happy to brush their teeth.
3. Create A Fun Oral Care Routine
Creating a consistent oral care routine is vital if you want good oral health, and if that's the case for you, it's the case for your kids too. To make the routine enjoyable for your child, you need to make it fun – we've talked about this in terms of actually brushing, but this is about making the whole process fun from beginning to end.
One thing you can do is set up a tooth brushing station with colorful cups, their chosen toothbrush, floss so they can learn about brushing and flossing, and perhaps a step stool so they can reach the sink and do things on their own (adding some independence to the oral care routine helps them want to do it more, plus it helps you out as it means you only have to supervise and not get involved as much).
It's also a good idea to make it a family affair and all brush and floss your teeth together. It might not sound like that could be a bonding experience, but for a kid, any time spent with their parent or parents is positive, and by brushing your teeth together, you can make sure everyone's doing it right, make it fun, and bond more, creating a positive experience all round.
4. Use Educational Tools
Children love to learn, so using educational tools to teach them about the importance of oral health can be a great idea and make it all much more exciting for them. You'll find books, videos, and even apps you can use that will explain why brushing and flossing is so important, what food and drink to avoid (or at least limit), and how to brush their teeth in exactly the right way. You might even be able to find something that makes going to the dentist less scary, ensuring they can go to their check-ups without any problems.
5. Have A Reward System
Setting up a reward system can be an excellent motivator for your child if you want them to have good oral hygiene. Stickers are always great, so create a sticker chart and let your child put a sticker on it every time they floss and brush without getting upset or causing a fuss. After they get a certain number of stickers, you can reward them with a treat – just make sure it's not a sugary one, if possible!
If the children know they're going to be rewarded for taking care of their teeth and having good oral habits, they'll be much more likely to get into the routine of brushing their teeth twice a day without any problems, and soon enough they won't even have to think about it anymore – it's just something they do. That's the kind of positive habit that can help them throughout their lives.
6. Visit The Dentist Regularly
Regular dental check-ups are just as important as anything else when it comes to your child's oral health. Unfortunately, many children will feel worried about going to the dentist, which is why it's crucial to find a good pediatric dentist who's used to working with children and knows exactly how to make them feel happy and safe.
Once you find a good dentist, schedule regular check-ups and make them part of your child's normal routine. Don't give them any negative stories about dentists, and make sure you get your teeth checked too, as they'll want to copy what you do.
7. Lead By Example
We've just mentioned how important it is for you to go to your dentist as regularly as your children do, and that's just one way you can lead by example when it comes to teaching children about oral hygiene.
Showing them there's nothing to be afraid of, regularly brushing your teeth with them, limiting your sugary food intake, and so on will all help reinforce just how important oral health is.