The subject matter of dental care offers very little appeal to most children. Some dentists feel that proper brushing and flossing isn’t being taken seriously among a lot of kids. Parents on the other hand resort to strategies that do more harm than good just to enforce oral hygiene rules.
It is quite ironic when some parents would persuade their children to brush while promising to buy them their favorite dessert just to get this daily routine over and done with.
A California pediatric dentist suggests the following strategies for training children care for their teeth:
Start training while they’re young
Brushing and using dental floss must be habit forming. It won’t work if they are forced to do these routines. So while they are still young and far from the “rebel” years, teach them how it’s properly done. Even before their first tooth comes out, use a clean damp cloth or gauze to wipe their gums. There are also special brushes worn on the finger and this could also do the job. This way, children get the idea that brushing is really a necessity that is supposed to be done daily and consistently.
Teach by doing
It is understandable for some kids to brush improperly. For instance, brushing the teeth along its biting edge is incorrect. It should be done at the point where the gums and teeth meet. Dentists suggest that parents assist very young kids by guiding their little hands in doing the job. For kids who are a little older, brushing with them and showing them how an adult does it is a good tactic.
Kids should start using dental floss at the age when there is no space found between their temporary teeth. Let your kids watch you and mirror what you do. This is easier than giving out verbal instructions.
Reward him for doing it right
Monitor your child’s progress with his brushing and flossing. After a week, review his progress tracked through a colorful chart. If he did well that week, give small rewards. Positive reinforcement through recognition of a job well done is enough to push a child to be better at oral hygiene every day. It makes him realize too that it is expected of him to do it consistently day by day.
Derive fun out of it
Children won’t hesitate to do routine tasks if some fun is introduced into it. There are toothbrushes that come in fun cartoon characters. Musical toothbrushes that play nursery songs are also available. Flavored toothpaste can add to their motivation. Make sure that you buy fun toothbrushes that don’t compromise quality and design. The brush head must be small and appropriate for your little one’s mouth. Bristles should be soft enough for delicate teeth and gums.
Training kids to brush their teeth and take care of it while still young is the best strategy but making it a fun activity could make a big difference.