Since children can’t see plaque, it can be hard for them to understand why they need to brush their teeth.
At the end of a busy day of parenting, the last thing you want is to fight with your kids to brush their teeth. But all too often, that is exactly what it feels like, a fight. If your children don’t establish proper dental hygiene habits when they’re young, they could end up with costly or unsightly dental problems down the line. And with the amount of sugar that kids now days can get their hands on, you should definitely be concerned about cavities.
Check out these creative and easy tips if you want to avoid struggling with your children twice a day (at least).
- Gross Them Out – Children tend to respond well to being grossed out and there are few things grosser than what happens when you don’t brush your teeth. Show your children age-appropriate pictures of ulcers, gum disease, and tooth decay that can evolve when you don’t brush your teeth, to really drive the point home.
- Get Visual – Visuals and experiments are great ways to help children learn life long oral hygiene habits. Since children can’t see plaque, it can be hard for them to understand why they need to brush their teeth. To give them a good visual, you can buy plaque disclosing tablets at the pharmacy. When your child chews one of these tablets, it will dye the plaque on their teeth so they can see it and brush it away. Another great experiment involves eggs and soda. Have your child place hard boiled eggs in soda. Leave the egg in the soda for a few days so your child can physically see what happens to teeth when you drink soda and don’t brush.
- Be the Example – Some children want to be just like mommy or daddy. Take advantage of this by setting an example for great oral hygiene.
- Rewards System – Instituting a rewards system is a great way to keep track of how much your kids are brushing and encourage positive behaviors. Child psychologists argue that rewarding positive behavior is an important way to help your child develop healthy self-esteem.
- Accessorize – From toothbrushes to toothpaste, to timers, there are literally hundreds of products on the market to entice your children to brush their teeth. Is there are particular character your child loves? You can almost certainly find a toothbrush with their likeness. Let your child pick out his or her own toothbrush so they feel like they have some agency.
At Least Twice a Day
Did you know some scientists have linked not brushing your teeth to an increased risk for heart attacks? These tips should help you children understand just how important brushing their teeth is.
If you’re still frustrated after trying out these creative tricks, you should talk to a pediatric dentist for advice. Some children actually have severe phobias and anxiety surrounding oral care, in which case you’ll need professional help and maybe even sedation dentistry.