The American Dental Association (ADA) has declared February National Children’s Dental Health Month.
For some kids, brushing their teeth is just as exciting as doing their homework or eating their veggies. After all, they have better things to do with their time: complete that drawing, watch that cartoon, pull that cat’s tail. As parents, it is our duty to make sure our kids develop a brushing routine. Aside from the confidence that accompanies a pearly-white smile, developing good oral hygiene habits prevents cavities, gum disease and sickness caused by germs.
Here are 5 tips to get your kiddies to pick up that toothbrush with more enthusiasm:
1. Have a two-minute dance party twice a day.
Who can resist a fun dance party? Brushing doesn’t have to be a drag — let your kid crank up his favorite song or better yet, download a brushing app that plays a fun 2-minute tune while he brushes away the night’s (and day’s) bacteria. If your kid has two left feet and no desire to get his groove on, you can tell him a funny story while he brushes — anything to get him excited about oral hygiene!
2. Rewards, rewards, rewards.
Kids love positive reinforcement, and what’s a better way of saying “good job” than a bright, shiny sticker? Set up a reward chart in the bathroom, and every time your kid brushes her teeth, give her a sticker. When she gets 14 that week, you can reward her with her choice of a family activity or dinner idea. Get creative!
3. Make it a family activity.
There’s no better way to reinforce the importance of oral hygiene, than to brush with your child. Kids learn by example, so set an example. If your bathroom is big enough, you can have the whole family brushing to a 2-minute upbeat song.
4. Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste.
Take your kid shopping and give her the freedom to choose her own, ADA-approved, toothbrush. She’ll likely go for a colourful character brush, slightly above average toothbrush price. If you can afford it, buy it — she’ll look forward to seeing her little pal every morning.
5. Same time, twice a day, no excuse.
It’s simple, but sometimes we forget how important it is. Your kid might be tired after a long day of school and extracurriculars, but you need to make sure she brushes every morning and every night before crawling into bed. Eventually this becomes routine and second nature, setting her up for a pearly white future.