Does your little one have a meltdown when it’s time to brush his teeth? When it comes to teens’ dental care, is your kiddo “so over it?” All you need are these awesome tips to help make brushing and flossing fun for kids of all ages (and for parents, too)!
No More Tantrums from Preschoolers when It’s Time to Brush
Those tiny preschoolers have BIG personalities and BIGGER opinions about personal hygiene.
Parents can make life a lot easier by implementing these tips into the morning and evening dental hygiene routine.
- Allow your child to pick his or her toothbrush. Having a bright toothbrush with a favorite character can help a preschooler look forward to brushing “with a friend.”
- Let your child choose her toothpaste. While you may not appreciate bubblegum-flavored toothpaste, your child might love it – and that’s okay. Start with a tiny blip of paste. When your child has begun to spit, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a green pea.
- Sing the alphabet while brushing. Not only will your child enjoy the attention, but you’ll teach good oral habits as well as the ABCs. Kids (and adults) should brush for two minutes.
- A brushing chart like this one can provide just the incentive your little one needs. Once a chart is filled with great results, go on a family outing as a reward.
- Read fun books to your child about the benefits of brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist.
- In regards to flossing, don’t skip it! Use a threaded flosser if it’s easier for you. This activity helps preschoolers understand the importance of flossing.
School Kids Still Need Mom or Dad to Oversee Brushing and Flossing
As children grow, their dental hygiene habits should grow with them. Adults should continue to be the primary brushers until children reach the age of 7.
After that, however, it is important to continue to monitor them and make sure they are properly flossing and brushing all teeth, especially the back ones. Kids tend to get a little sloppy, with cleaning their room, feeding the pets, and brushing and flossing. Do a breath-check and smile inspection before leaving the house in the morning!
To ensure that your child brushes for a full two minutes, set a timer or play a song they enjoy that lasts for two minutes.
Let’s talk about electric toothbrushes. Studies show that the aren’t more effective than a manual brush but, and this is a big BUT, people tend to brush longer when using electric toothbrushes. So, if your kiddo isn’t brushing thoroughly, it may be time to go electric.
Ways that a parent can help their kids reduce the risk of cavities:
- Brush twice a day
- Add an antibacterial mouthwash
- Floss daily
- Dental sealants
- Fluoride treatment at the dentist
- Visit the dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings
- Eat a healthy diet, limiting sugars and other starches
- Drink WATER – all day long, drink, drink, drink!
- No sodas, sports drinks, or energy drinks
Hormones Make Teens’ Dental Care Imperative
Preteens and teenagers seem to care little oral health, and yet it can be the most important time for diligence in dental hygiene. This is especially true for kids who wear braces.
Keep your older children interested in dental hygiene by utilizing ideas important to them.
For instance, most pre-teens and teenagers are overly interested in their appearance. Help them understand how good oral care helps them look and feel better.
- Send them to soccer practice with a pack of sugar-free gum.
- Pack their camp bag with threaded flossers and sugar-free mints.
- You can also help them appreciate the importance of fresh breath. In other words, their friends will enjoy being around them and talking with them more if their breath is fresh and minty.
- Be creative. Find ways to keep oral health important for your teenager. Even if it means offering rewards.
- Continue routine visits with the dentist every six months.
- Check those smiles daily to make sure they’re brushing and flossing!
- If the mouthwash bottle isn’t getting lighter, then they aren’t using the mouthwash.
For athletic children and teens, a custom-made mouthguard will help protect them from traumatic injuries to the mouth and teeth. Ask Dr. Hillman about a mouthguard at your next visit.
How to Encourage Good Dental Hygiene Practices
Led by Dr. Matt Hillman, our caring, energy-filled team loves catering to the special, unique needs of children and providing teens’ dental care. Located in Overland Park, SmilesDentistry4Kids is accepting new patients. Call (913) 685-9990 today to schedule your appointment.
HAPPY BRUSHING! (And flossing).