Oral Hygiene Cheerleader

As the parent of a young child you’ll find yourself playing many roles: playmate, teacher, friend. When it comes to oral hygiene the best role you can play for your child is cheerleader! Chances are brushing and flossing aren’t your child’s favorite pastimes. Sometimes the harder you push them to complete these necessary tasks the more strongly they refuse! While not always easy, it’s important that you help your child develop oral hygiene habits that they will carry with them through life, preventing oral health issues along the way! Here are some ways to help you be the best oral hygiene cheerleader you can be:kids-brushing-greenspoint

  • If you think the best way to get your kids to brush is to trick them into it, think again! While promises of reward and the threat of punishment serve as great motivators, most kids are ready and willing to learn about the reasons behind brushing. Depending on your child’s age, begin explaining why we brush our teeth in terms easiest for them to understand. Continue to reiterate these lessons as they grow older, and make oral hygiene and health an open discussion. Open the floor for questions. Many dentists will try to make visits comfortable enough for children to feel okay voicing concerns or questions.

    • “We brush our teeth because the food we eat makes our teeth dirty. If we don’t brush bad bacteria grow on our teeth and can hurt our teeth.”

    • “Do you know why we floss between every tooth?”

  • Most children should not be trusted to brush properly until about age eight. Any younger than eight and you should remain in the bathroom supervising. Chime in with praise or guidance. “Remember the back ones on the bottom!” “Good job getting all your teeth!”

  • It’s recommended that everyone brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day. While you might feel comfortable estimating the time, without a timer two minutes can seem like a lifetime for a young child. Buy an egg timer that you can keep in the bathroom. Teach your child how to wind it, and tell them that the “ding!” means their teeth are nice and clean now. This will help them remain engaged and do a better job brushing.

  • Choose oral hygiene products that your child will enjoy using. There are many toothbrushes and toothpastes that are marketed specifically at young children with their favorite cartoon characters or fun flavors. It can help to let your child pick out their toothbrush by themselves. Make sure that these products are approved by the ADA.

Kids are all different. The thing that motivates your daughter to brush might be different than for her sister. Remember to keep the conversation going and spend the four minutes you devote to brushing each day teaching your kids a little more about the importance of oral health. If you’re still having trouble be sure to ask your dentist for any advice they may have. Call Dr. Bosse of Greenspoint Dental and schedule an appointment today!