Parents, does getting your children to brush and floss their teeth feel like an uphill battle every day? At Boyett Family Dentistry, we see a lot of children come through our doors and we understand the struggle. There’s nothing glamorous or exciting about brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist – for kids or adults!
But learning and practicing good oral hygiene habits in childhood can help prevent cavities, gum disease and poor oral health in adulthood. And children are particularly susceptible to developing cavities and tooth decay while their teeth are still growing and changing. According to the CDC, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and approximately 20% of children between ages 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
Below are 6 of our best tips for how you can make toothbrushing and flossing more enjoyable for everyone.
6 Ways to Get Creative With Toothbrushing
- Build the habit early. Set a routine for brushing and flossing as soon as children’s first teeth come in. Even when they’re too young to brush for themselves, make a habit of brushing their teeth for them every day. If you can, encourage children to watch while you brush and floss your teeth, so they view the routine as something that everyone – even adults – does. That way, when it’s time to pass the reigns (err, the toothbrush) over to your child, brushing and flossing is second nature.
- Do it together. Make brushing and flossing a family activity. Set a time every evening for all members of the household to pause for 2 minutes and brush their teeth. We know it’s not realistic for the whole family to brush and floss together every morning and night but doing so routinely can help set a good example for young children learning to brush on their own.
- Buy fun products. Today, stores stock a wide range of dental products geared toward young kids. Many tooth brushes light up, play songs or feature popular movie and TV show characters. Tooth brushing gets a lot more thrilling when it looks like Spider-Man is the one swooping down to brush away the bad plaque! And if your child is turning up their nose at spearmint toothpaste, you can buy toothpaste with a fun, fruity flavor instead.
- Encourage independence. Bring your children to the store and let them pick out their own toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to give them a sense of ownership over their dental health. Make it feel like a special, important milestone by planning a dedicated shopping trip for that purpose and then heading out to lunch to celebrate your children’s budding independence.
- Make it a fun activity. A full 2 minutes of tooth brushing can feel endless to young children. Make the time more enjoyable by playing music or YouTube videos, or telling a story while the kids brush. With a good distraction, time will be up before they even have a chance to complain!
- Use a reward system. Create a sticker chart to track each successful toothbrushing and flossing your children complete. At the end of a week or month, let your children pick out a small toy or choose a fun weekend activity as a reward. And give the kids something to look forward to after a not-so-fun trip to the dentist. Take a trip to the movies or stop by the local park for an hour as a reward for good behavior.
Schedule Check-Ups for the Whole Family at Boyett Family Dentistry
Like adults, children need regular dental check-ups and cleanings to maintain good oral health and prevent minor problems from worsening and causing permanent damage. You can schedule appointments for the whole family at Boyett Family Dentistry by calling 863-294-9200 or leaving us a message online. We look forward to seeing your beautiful smiles soon!