February is Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to remember to check your family’s oral heath habits and, if needed, get back on track. We know it’s not always easy to get kids to practice good dental hygiene. Here are a few tips that will help you encourage your little ones to practice oral health at a young age, setting the foundation for healthy adult teeth.
If you are having a difficult time getting your child to brush, consider changing things up a bit with a new toothpaste. Not all kids like the minty taste of adult toothpastes. Children’s mouths are more sensitive and the tingling sensation associated with a minty toothpaste can often create a burning sensation. Instead, help your child to select a more kid-friendly toothpaste with a fun taste, such as bubblegum. Browse toothpastes containing the American Dental Association seal of approval here.
Buy a New Toothbrush
It is always a good idea to change out toothbrushes at least a couple of times per year and after you have been sick. Let your child pick out a special toothbrush they are sure to use. Cool designs, characters, and interactive components will have your child reminding you when it’s time to brush.
Make it Fun
Make brushing time feel like less of a chore and more like playtime by playing a song when your child is brushing his or her teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing two times a day for two full minutes. This is about the same length as a song. Have your child select a song of their choice and play it during brushing time.
Make Brushing a Group Activity
Whatever your child sees you do, he or she will want to do as well. By brushing your teeth together, you set a good example and can encourage your child to develop good brushing habits.
Flossing can be challenging, even for adults. To make the process easier for your child, consider using small flossers that are made just for them. Try flossers with bright colors and animal shapes.
Implement a Reward System
Kids are often motivated to complete chores when offered fun incentives. Try using NOAH’s free printable daily tracker to keep track of each day that your child brushes and flosses. At the end of each week, let your child choose a healthy reward. Implementing a reward system is a great way to encourage and make dental health fun.
Reduce Dental Visit Anxiety
It is not unusual for some children to be afraid of a visit to the dentist. Help your child feel more comfortable by setting a positive example and avoiding the use of negative words, such as pain or hurt.