In a recent article from Yahoo, parents ranked brushing teeth in the top 10 of hardest things to teach kids. We can help you tackle that one! Here are our tips.
Try brushing apps.
If your child is already familiar with their iPad, you can take advantage of that with tooth brushing apps. These apps make brushing a habit and teach brushing techniques, with rewards and characters kids love.
We are all creatures of habit, so start the habit.
As early as you can, establish the routine of teeth brushing before bedtime. “Come on, let’s go brush your teeth” should be the signal for bed.
You can start with a baby as young as one years old: gently brush your baby’s gums and first teeth with a soft cloth before they fall asleep for the night.
Kids imitate. Show them how you brush.
Twice a day, brush right along with them.. That’s 2 minutes or more of bonding, teaching and establishing a good habit!
Get them involved.
Take them shopping for their toothbrush and toothpaste. Kids love choices and that makes them feel empowered and involved. Create a “tooth fairy diary” with them.
Struggling with older kids who won’t brush? Use the cue, routine, reward technique.
The routine: You want to establish a routine to brushing. So look at your child’s evening routine to see where you can insert the cue for brushing. Perhaps set a time for turning off the TV and surrendering the gadgets for bedtime. This is when they’ll brush their teeth, too.
The cues: These are the things that seem to always get in the way of the desired behavior of brushing. Are they too tired from play or school? Too much homework? Tutoring days? Look for these cues and find ways to go around them, like early dinners or setting a break with iPad time so that finishing iPad time is brushing time.
The rewards: Early on while they’re building the habit, it helps to attach access to desirable things to completing the healthy activity of toothbrushing. Extra iPad time, stickers for their “brushing diary”, a favorite bedtime story, their favorite breakfast the next morning, or shopping for a favorite character toothbrush and ADA-approved flavored toothpaste. If our children are going to have the privilege of evening screen time or other perks, they have to choose to make their healthy choices first. Remember, when we give children a choice, it helps them build feelings of significance and importance.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.