Parents know that keeping kids teeth healthy is a critical part of their overall health and well-being, but if trying to get your child to brush and floss every day feels like an epic battle, you’re not alone. Many parents find that kids don’t want to brush their teeth, and since they are probably too young to understand the consequences, there isn’t much hope in being able to reason with them about it. Instead, it’s up to you to find creative ways to make oral health more fun.
Make it a Game
Your child probably spends plenty of time playing with electronic gadgets—tablets, phones, computers, and more—so use that to your advantage. There are loads of apps out there that make brushing teeth into a game, providing kids with fun ways to track their progress, songs and videos to keep them brushing for the recommended two minutes, two times a day, and rewards they can earn when they do things to keep teeth healthy.
Give Them Choices
Sometimes the best way to get kids to cooperate is to make them think they have some control. Obviously you don’t want to give them a choice between brushing or not, but you can give them some choices on how they take care of their teeth. For example, let your child pick out his or her toothbrush at the store, or given them two choices in the flavor of their toothpaste. Let them decide if they want to brush their teeth in their bathroom or yours and if they prefer to floss before brushing or after—no matter what they choose, they will still get good oral health care.
Make “Teeth-Healthy” Treats
Beyond brushing and flossing, your child’s diet plays a huge role in tooth and gum health. Have your child help you put together some “teeth-healthy” treats that they can grab when they are hungry—things like veggies and fruits, bottled water, and high-protein snacks. This can help them avoid grabbing sugary or starchy snacks like chips or crackers, and eliminate sugary drinks like juice or soda from their daily menu.
Choose a Good Pediatric Dentist
Another battle you may be fighting is getting the kids to visit the dentist on a regular basis, but regular dental visits twice a year should be a non-negotiable part of good oral hygiene. To get kids excited about seeing their Salt Lake City dentist instead of being terrified, choose a good pediatric dentist that can calm your child’s nerves, has an age-appropriate environment where your child feels comfortable, and has staff that are specially trained to provide care for children.
Your kid’s oral health might be a battle around your house, but when you make it fun and creative, you can help your children develop habits that will keep their teeth and gums healthy now and in the future.