How to make brushing fun for children
SUMMARY: Oral health for kids is important to ensure their mouths stay healthy for a lifetime, but convincing them that brushing is fun can be quite the task.
Posted: May 16, 2013
Learning to keep up with proper oral health at a young age poses countless benefits. Children will not only be able to gain the confidence of having a fresh, clean mouth, they will also learn practices that enable them to have a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Good habits could also help to avoid bad breath in toddlers. To encourage children to brush and floss regularly, you may have to think like a child: What did your parents do when you were a youngster to encourage brushing and flossing? For many young kids, cartoon characters and books can help throughout early childhood to develop healthy routines.
A new children's book, "My Clean Teeth," is an informational resource for parents and teachers to educate kids on the importance of a clean mouth. Author LizB found inspiration from her time as a dental nurse combined with her studies in early childhood development to create daily tips for preventing tooth decay and oral diseases for youngsters. With LizB's suggestions and techniques, oral health for kids can be fun and regular visits to the dentist can become much less scary. The author also explains how good food and drink play a major role for maintaining a healthy mouth.
"Decay cannot be prevented by brushing alone. It must be combined with dietary discipline," author LizB told The Paramus Post. "By limiting sugary foods and drinks to meal times only, the acid attack on teeth caused by [the] reaction of sugar and bacteria in the mouth may be reduced."
What you can do
Bad breath in toddlers is more common than you think, and it can put a damper on their social life and cause embarrassment. Teaching children the importance of keeping up with their oral health and the best practices to maintain it will help them make sure their teeth and gums are in top condition. Here are a few suggestions to get your child used to brushing:
Encourage your children to brush the "teeth" of their favorite stuffed animal or doll so they get used to the idea of the practice. This will also help kids work out their feelings about brushing. Remember: They probably don't understand why they need to brush. If you're OK with getting a little messy, you can have your child brush your teeth! Role reversal may help your child learn that brushing really isn't scary at all. Play along with them and they might get a real kick out of it.
Skip the toothpaste
At a young age, good oral health for kids can be achieved without all the goopy toothpaste that children don't like. This way, fussy kids may be more open to brushing away plaque and bacteria. Once you ease your child into the habit of brushing regularly, start to add a bit of oxygenating toothpaste gradually. Toothpaste with natural ingredients is great for children because they may accidentally swallow a small amount without the possibility of getting nauseous.
Make it routine
It doesn't matter if you're an adult or a child, making a routine out of something makes it much easier to habitually maintain. Have a designated time in the morning and at night set aside for both you and your child to brush your teeth together. Whether it is before a bath or right after breakfast, a planned time for brushing will get your child used to it. In addition, brushing alongside your child will allow them to do it on their own, even though they will be copying your moves in the mirror. Although your child might not brush as thoroughly as you would, they are learning healthy habits and will eventually think of brushing their teeth as second nature.