Out of all the daily hygiene tasks that parents help their kids with, the one that gets the most resistance is often brushing and flossing. A lot of kids are too young to understand the threat that poor dental hygiene could cause the tooth decay and gum issues later in life; in fact, they’re likely content to just forget brushing their teeth altogether.
To help you raise kids who understand the importance of proper oral hygiene, here are some tips on how to encourage your kids to brush and floss.
Step #1: Never Skip Brushing.
Sometimes, if parents meet too much resistance from their kids, they’ll allow them to skip brushing their teeth, often saying, “Just this one time.” Not only is once enough for a cavity to begin to form, but it also tells your kids that brushing is encouraged but not required. To really show your kids that brushing and flossing must be a twice-a-day, everyday part of their lives task, it’s crucial that you never allow them to skip brushing their teeth.
Step #2: Make it a Family Affair.
Kids crave structured family activities. By making tooth-brushing time a family event, your kids will learn the importance of oral hygiene just by watching you. The bathroom might get a little crowded, but this is an excellent way to make dental care a routine.
Step #3: Have the Right Tools.
Companies make kids’ dental hygiene products for a reason: to keep your kids involved with proper oral hygiene. Get your kids a fun toothbrush, perhaps one that lights up or sings, in addition to a tasty and child-friendly toothpaste.
Many parents make the mistake of disallowing their kids to use bubble gum or fruit toothpaste because they fear that their children’s teeth aren’t getting as clean as they would if they used a regular mint paste. However, as long as you’re using a dentist-approved brand like Colgate or Crest, you can be assured that these kids’ toothpaste is just as effective as their adult counterparts. Plus, it’s likely children will approve of a fruity flavor more so than they would over a slightly-spicy, minty flavor.
Step #4: Make it Musical.
Ideally, your child should spend two minutes brushing his or her teeth. Creating some kind of musical timer system that plays for two minutes and ends when they may stop brushing is a great idea to train your kids on how long to brush. If you don’t want to sing or create a playlist, invest in one of the many toothbrushes that come in with a built-in musical timer.
It’s not hard to teach your kids to care about dental hygiene, but it does take a little commitment. No child naturally has the urge to brush and floss twice a day. However, as long as you as a parent continue to reinforce the idea that oral hygiene is necessary and can even be fun, your child will eventually make brushing and flossing a habit and know to brush their teeth even without your guidance.