Parents with younger children around the world struggle with ensuring their children are maintaining a healthy brushing routine. Despite understanding how important oral hygiene is over time, parents will likely still face a number of challenges in trying to make their children understand this fact. To make matters worse, younger children are also frequently scared of their visits to their dentist’s office and the checkup that comes with each visit. Knowing that the habits at home have a great deal of influence on how their checkup goes, how can parents circumvent any pain their children may face at the dentist’s’ office?
Among the most important, encouraging your children to brush in a more exciting way. Rather than glaring over their shoulders for two minutes in the morning and at night, find some way to incorporate some excitement into both brushing sessions every day. Whether that be a personalized toothbrush that plays your child’s favorite song or lines from their favorite television show, or even an interactive brushing app that encourages children throughout the two minutes with popular television or video game characters. Anything that will effectively distract their minds from the task while still making sure they’re brushing is a great place to start in establishing a healthy routine.
If your child continues to struggle, rather than attempting to distract them with catchy tunes or interactive apps, try to include yourself in their habits. For example, establishing a family tradition of everyone brushing their teeth together in the mornings and nighttime can often be effective. Children very commonly mimic their parents’ actions, so why couldn’t the same be true for brushing their teeth? Assuming this method works for you, be sure to positively reinforce your child throughout the brushing.
More important than any of these methods, however, has to be when parents attempt to establish these habits in their children. Even if there is no such thing as too late, it will grow increasingly challenging the longer parents wait to try and instill these habits in their children. The moment children appear comfortable enough to hold something without assistance, parents should be considering teaching their children how to independently brush their teeth. The sooner a child is exposed to these habits, the more likely they are to stick and have the largest impact over the course of a child’s life.
If all else fails, however, there is always the fear factor. Children are often severely frightened of the processes that dentists take to clean their teeth and make sure the integrity of their mouth has not been compromised. Shiny and sharp tools, lead vests and bitewings that allow for an effective x-ray are often the source of nightmares for children. However, if you’re able to effectively convince your children that their dentist visits will be less traumatizing the more often they brush their teeth, you can be sure that they’ll be more willing to brush on a daily basis.
For more information on how to properly motivate your children to brush regularly, check out the featured infographic below. Courtesy of Sycamore Hills Dentistry