7 Ways to Make Dental Hygiene Fun for Kids
“I don’t want to brush my teeth!” Countless parents have heard those words bouncing off the bathroom walls as they try to convince their child to start their nightly routine. Maybe you’ve tried explaining why we need to floss and brush our teeth, depriving your child of his or her favorite snack, or enforcing an earlier bedtime, but you’re seldom successful. How about making it fun? Below are seven things you can try.
Dental Hygiene Can Be Fun
1. Let your child choose the toothbrush
A plain toothbrush just isn’t fun. Toothbrushes for kids feature colorful handles, cartoon characters, or superheroes. Buy a few different toothbrushes that your child likes, and let him or her choose which one to brush with today.
2. Have a contest
Let your children have a contest as to who can brush their teeth the longest. Set a two-minute timer, and watch them go! Remind them to brush thoroughly, not just quickly. If you only have one child, you can be his or her competitor. Dentistry for children is easier if you can make dental hygiene fun at home.
3. Brush to music
Music makes kids happy. Play some music in the bathroom, and let your child brush to it. There’s nothing wrong with stopping in between brushing to let your child dance a little. Use music to get him or her in the brushing mood.
4. Let a pal watch
Bring Dora, Mickey, Pooh, Sulley—or your child’s favorite pal—into the bathroom for brushing time. Your child can ask the pal to watch as teeth are brushed. You can be the voice behind the pal, cheering your child on! Another suggestion is to keep a dry toothbrush handy so your child can brush the pal’s teeth, too.
5. Reward your child
Rewards can be simple and inexpensive. Extra hugs and kisses, or one more bedtime story may be all that’s needed to encourage your child to brush. Stickers or stars on a mirror or a corkboard in your child’s room work well, too. You can use this same idea after your child’s pediatric dentistry appointments.
6. Find fun apps
Download a few apps onto your mobile device that encourage children to brush their teeth. Most of the apps feature music and timers. If you use the same app repeatedly, your child might get bored, so mix it up.
7. Join in the fun
Don’t just watch your child have fun while brushing his or her teeth. Get involved. Hum, dance, sing, and brush your own teeth along with your child. Ask your child for suggestions for tomorrow’s teeth-brushing event.
Dentistry for Children Takes Time and Patience
Be patient. You and your child will get through this difficult stage. Be certain to check your child’s teeth to ensure they have been thoroughly cleaned. By the age of 7 or 8, most children have the dexterity to floss and brush their own teeth, and they usually want to do it.
This post is sponsored by Chatham, NJ dentist Dr. Allyson Hurley. She loves making visits fun for kids.