June is the official start of summer and a much-anticipated break for many children who attend school. There is no better time than the start of summer vacation to remind your children about the importance of establishing good oral health habits. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing, and routine visits to your Clermont dentist can help ward off tooth decay, gum disease, and other adverse health problems.
In honor of Oral Health Month, a collaborative effort between the American Dental Association and the Colgate-Palmolive Company, we’d like to bring you some fun ways to motivate your kids to brush.
Print Coloring Sheets
Getting toddlers to brush can be a struggle. Get your tots excited about brushing by printing off some dental-related coloring sheets. As your child colors in the pictures, talk to them about the importance of their teeth. Explain how brushing can help keep them clean and healthy.
Create a Reward System
Many children are motivated by rewards. Create a brushing calendar and each time your little one brushes without a struggle, add a checkmark. When your child reaches an agreed-upon number of checkmarks, offer a reward. Rewards can range from special desserts to trips to the beach.
Switch to Electric
Manual toothbrushes don’t have the same fun factor as their electric counterparts. If you haven’t already, consider switching your child’s toothbrush out for an electric option. Not only do electric toothbrushes remove more plaque from the tooth surface than manual toothbrushes, they can also be fun for kids to use. You can even have your child pick out their favorite character toothbrush from the store.
Be a Good Example
Your child looks up to you and may mimic the things you do. Be a good example for your little one by developing healthy oral hygiene habits. Make brushing and flossing a family affair by ensuring that every member of the family goes through a morning and evening routine that involves cleaning the teeth and gums.
Small children may be uncomfortable with brushing or be fearsome of the dentist. These are often normal fears that they will grow out of as they become more familiar with their oral health care routine. You can help make this transition easier by playing make-believe and incorporating toys. For example, you may play “dentist” with your child’s doll as the patient. Pretend to clean the doll’s teeth with a toothbrush and have your child play a role.
Many children respond positively to music. Thus, playing a song or tune that your child enjoys can make dull or scary tasks more tolerable. Consider playing calming music as your child brushes to take their mind off of the task at hand. You may also consider purchasing a musical toothbrush. These toothbrushes play an upbeat tune and also tells your child when they’ve brushed long enough.
Technology has made it easy to learn and teach new things. If your child enjoys watching videos online, consider adding some teeth brushing videos to the usual watch list. Children are visual learners and are better able to replicate things they are being taught when they can see it happening on a screen.
Relinquish Some Control
It can be hard for parents to give up control when they want to ensure that their child’s teeth are brushed correctly. However, it’s important to give your child the independence they seek. Once your child is able to hold a toothbrush correctly, allow them to try and brush on their own. While you may need to step in to give them a helping hand, brushing on their own can help them master brushing techniques and can help eliminate struggles.
Speak with a Dentist in Clermont, FL
Helping children develop good oral health habits at a young age can make a difference for the rest of their lives. Oral Health Month is the perfect opportunity to get on track with your child’s daily routines, including visiting a Clermont family dentistry at least every six months. Contact the friendly dental team at Hancock Village Dental today to schedule your child’s next visit.