Getting your kids to brush and floss their teeth can be a battle. But establishing healthy dental habits now is important for your child’s teeth and overall health.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and our dental specialists at Trident Dental in Houston, Texas, want to share their best tips on how you can get your kids to take care of their teeth.
1. Set a good example
When it comes to the health of your kids’ teeth, it all starts with you. Set the example, and let your kids watch you brush and floss your teeth.
2. Let your kids choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste
Kids are always looking for ways to establish their independence. To encourage your child to take care of their teeth, let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This gives them a sense of control and ownership over the process, which may help encourage the healthy habit.
Make sure your child chooses a toothbrush with soft bristles and a head that’s not too big for their mouth. Also seek out kid-friendly toothpaste with fluoride, as recommended by the American Dental Association.
3. Let them practice on their stuffed animals
Like picking out their own toothbrush and toothpaste, letting your child practice brushing a “friend’s” teeth helps them feel in more control of the process. It may also help your child feel more comfortable letting you brush their teeth.
4. Brush and floss together
Get your kids into the habit of brushing and flossing by making it a family affair. Taking care of your teeth together not only makes it more fun for you and your kids, but it also puts you in a position to coach and helps you ensure they’re cleaning their whole mouth.
5. Establish a healthy teeth routine
They may fight it, but kids do like routine. To establish good dental habits, create a healthy teeth routine. This may include brushing their teeth first thing in the morning and then brushing and flossing before story time and bed.
6. Try a 2-minute dance party
The American Dental Association says you need to brush your teeth at least two minutes twice a day to keep your teeth clean and healthy. To get your kids to brush the full two minutes, make it a 2-minute dance party. Find a song everyone loves and dance and brush until you reach the 2-minute mark.
You can also use a timer or a kid-friendly light-up timer toothbrush.
7. Create a reward system
Sometimes you need to reward good habits. If you’re struggling to get your kids to take good care of their teeth, develop a reward system. Your child may be less apt to cry and complain if they know they’re getting something special. The specifics of your reward system may depend on you and your child, but we don’t recommend rewarding healthy dental habits with sugary treats.
8. Read books or watch fun videos about dental health
When it comes to getting your kids to take care of their teeth, sometimes you need a little help from their cartoon friends. You can find a lot of videos featuring well-known kid-friendly characters sharing their teeth-brushing tips on the internet.
You can also take a trip to the library together and find a kid-friendly book about dental health that you can read with each other.
9. Stock your kitchen with teeth-friendly foods
Brushing and flossing are very important when it comes to keeping your kid’s’ teeth cavity-free, but so is their diet. Sugary drinks and sticky foods increase the risk of cavities. To help your kids take good care of their teeth, keep your kitchen stocked with teeth-friendly foods such as cut veggies, cheese sticks, and fresh fruit.
Instead of juice or soda, encourage your child to drink more water. Add cut fruits, such as strawberries or watermelon, to their cup for natural flavor and color.
10. Find a kid-friendly dentist
Children should start dental care around age 1. Our team at Trident Dental includes pediatric dental specialists who can guide you and your child in establishing healthy habits early. We can also help you navigate through your teeth brushing and flossing struggles so you can help your child develop the habits they need to take good care of their teeth.
For comprehensive dental care for you and your children from a compassionate and caring team, contact us by phone or online today.