As family dentists with decades of experience working with families and their youngsters, your Bellevue dentists know that children can put up quite the fight when it comes to your efforts to teach them a healthy, consistent dental health regime.
Help Your Child Enjoy Brushing by Adding Fun to the Routine
Do find yourself often exasperated at bedtime when your little ones resist any effort you make to get them to brush and floss? Believe it or not, even small, subtle shifts in your child’s dental routine can have a tremendous positive impact.
For some parents, it’s as simple as changing their child’s toothpaste, while others have to get a bit creative. Here are some useful tips to keeping mind as you work to instill good dental hygiene habits in your children that will last their entire lives.
Children’s mouths are typically much more sensitive than those of adults, meaning the same toothpaste that leaves you feeling fresh and minty may produce uncomfortable stinging, tingling, and even burning sensations in your child’s mouth. We recommend trying a toothpaste formula that is designed with your child in mind. Pay attention to the labels of the toothpaste you consider as some brands have sugar in them, which can end up doing more harm than good.
Make Tooth Time, Playtime
There are few activities that children love more than games or a mission to accomplish. Make the most of your little one’s playful spirit by turning toothbrushing and flossing into a game. Depending your child’s age, you can keep the game simple or make it a bit more challenging. Keep in mind that an established dental health regime is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle; your child is never too young to be started on the right path.
Try a copycat game
One of the most popular games that our parents play with their children is a variation of the “Copycat” game. Here’s how you play:
- First, tell your child that you are going on an adventure and have him or her follow you to the bathroom.
- Next, brush your teeth vigorously until you get a big mouthful of bubbles. The messier, the better!
- Now, smile wide and let the bubbles run down your chin and into the sink. If you end up feeling goofy, you’re doing it perfectly.
- After making a show for your child, clean up and have him or her COPY YOU EXACTLY. What follows will be messy, fun, and most importantly, machine-washable.
- The next time you play, let your youngster take the lead instead.
Make a reward jar or calendar
For some parents, engaging in a sticky game of Copycat is not an ideal option. Reward systems are another useful parenting tool for those looking to instill lifelong healthy habits in their children. Depending on what works best for your home, you could make a calendar or set aside a container labeled “Tooth Time Rewards.” For calendars, your child can earn stickers or stars after he or she brushes each day.
At the end of the week, you and your child can tally up the stars, stickers, coins, and other treats. Depending on the rules of your game, you can let your child decide on a treat, a family activity, or a special prize. At Smiles of Bellevue, we know that teaching your children about good dental health is so essential to ensuring healthy, lifelong dental habits that it is worth making some of your child’s rewards big and memorable.
For example, if your little one completes a full month of consistent brushing and flossing, reward him or her with a night at the movies or their favorite meal. Not only does using a reward system engage the whole family in your child’s personal development, but it also establishes and fosters the connection in your child’s mind between dental hygiene and having fun.
It’s Never Too Late to Start Instilling the Right Habits
If you’re concerned about your little one’s dental health, getting him or her in for a comprehensive exam can help our dentists catch any potential cavities or developmental issues before they start to cause your youngster any pain. Our team is waiting to help you start your child on a path to long term dental health!