The Family Dental Hygiene Team
Sample Post: Dental
It’s never too early to start your child on the path towards a lifetime of good dental hygiene. The habits they pick up at a young age will often determine the quality of their oral health for the rest of their lives. As you may already know, getting your child to enjoy and engage in a proper dental hygiene routine can be much trickier than it sounds. There are 1001 other activities in their lives that they’d probably rather be doing than brushing and flossing their teeth, so what’s the answer? One of the many things that can make a huge difference is approaching dental hygiene as a group activity that the family does together. Let’s take a look at the idea in a little more detail…
Why Is It Important To Look After Baby Teeth In The First Place?
It’s an unfortunately common misconception among patients to think that it’s not important to look after baby teeth (as they’re going to be gone in a few years anyway). While it’s true the teeth themselves will be gone, the legacy they leave behind can last a lifetime. The state of your child’s baby teeth can affect how they chew, talk, and eat – they can also sometimes affect how their permanent teeth come in too. Perhaps the most important reason to start looking after baby teeth is the routine it teaches your child. By getting into the habit of brushing from a young age your child is already going to have normalized dental hygiene as part of daily life when their adult teeth come in – ensuring they’re protected from day one.
Young children already love copying what their parents do. From washing the dishes to playing with an iPad, if mommy or daddy does it – the child usually wants to do it too. Just by watching their parents brush their teeth your child is probably going to want to join in the fun too (if they’re still at that curious age).
The Brushing Game
The recommended two minutes of brushing time we adults are used to can seem like an eternity for a young child with a short attention span. A great way to help them pass the time is to play one of their favourite songs at the same time. Dancing around in the bathroom with mom or dad while everyone brushes their teeth is a fun experience for all involved – including you!
Choose Your Toothbrush
Combining dental hygiene with cartoon characters to encourage children to maintain good oral health is one of the oldest tricks in the parenting book. There are countless kid-friendly products out there on the market – and there’s almost certainly one your child will enjoy. Take them to the store with you the next time you need to replace their toothbrush and let them pick out the one they like. Let them take a look at the toothpaste too as there are many child-friendly products available that have a much gentler flavour than traditional toothpaste.
Stick To The Routine
There are going to be times when it’s inconvenient for you all to brush together, and it can be tempting to skip it “just this once”. While it’s not the end of the world if you break the routine, you should avoid doing so as much as possible. The more you keep to the routine, the more of a habit it’s going to form for your child (which is going to make them much more likely to maintain proper oral hygiene later in life).
Carrot On A Stick
Of course, a little motivation in the form of a reward or two goes a very long way when you’re trying to get your child to do something. Think of a suitable treat for your child that they can earn by brushing their teeth twice a day for a certain amount of time (without missing a single session). Rewards can start small for shorter periods of time (like a week) and can get bigger as time goes on. If they miss a single session, they have to start over again. Once they get towards the bigger prizes after 6 months or so, the cumulative effect is extremely enticing for them. They’ll be racing to the bathroom to pick up their toothbrush before bedtime!
Try This At Home
Give some of these tips a shot the next time you’re trying to get your child to brush their teeth – they’re surprisingly effective! Let us know how you get on in the comments section below!