As a parent, especially as a new parent, you likely have many questions about child dental care. We all want to instill good dental habits in our children, but sometimes this isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It’s important to consider that, in a child’s eyes, brushing teeth or visiting the dentist can be scary because they’re new experiences. So, to teach your children proper dental care, you need to be proactive about removing the negative stigma associated with this habit. Rather than making good oral hygiene feel like a chore, make it as fun and enjoyable for your child as possible.
Today, Advanced Indiana will be giving you our top five tips for teaching kids proper child dental care. Using these tips, you can foster a focus on the importance of good oral hygiene in your child, leading them down the path to good dental habits that will span their entire lifetime. Let’s get started!
1. Place Focus on Proper Dental Care Early
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents are encouraged to take their children to the dentist when they reach a year old or six months after their first tooth comes in. While you may initially think that this is a little early for the dentist, this isn’t the case. From the time the first tooth comes in, it is accessible to plaque, and this can lead to cavities and other complications. What’s more, the sooner you make trips to the dentist a normal and regular part of your child’s life, the better.
2. Brush Alongside Them and Make It Fun
Although it may sound easier said than done, it’s best to make brushing a fun experience for your kids. As kids grow, they like to mimic the actions and behaviors of their parents – It’s only natural. Take advantage of this by brushing alongside your children and developing a brushing routine that they can look forward to. This is one of the best approaches to take as it ensures that everyone is brushing for an adequate amount of time.
Grab a timer and set it for two minutes. You can even make a competition out of it by coming up with contests, such as who can make the most toothpaste bubbles. The more fun you make brushing, the more likely your child is to look forward to it.
3. Compliment Them on Their Good Habits
To make good child dental care a routine, you’ll need to make sure your kids are motivated. One of the best ways of motivating a child is by acting as their personal cheerleader. It’s important to compliment your children’s brushing skills and encourage them to brush twice a day. Positive reinforcement is a surefire way to guarantee your children carry a good dental hygiene routine with them throughout the rest of their lives. One way to actively use positive reinforcement is by creating a brushing chart that you can hang on the wall and placing stickers by their names each time they successfully brush twice a day.
4. Let Your Child Pick Out Their Toothbrush and Toothpaste
It’s crucial that you make your child feel involved in the process of brushing their teeth. This means letting them select their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Take them to the store and let them pick out a brush that they like. There is a wide range of products out there, so they’re sure to find something they like. From different colors and characters, kids have the ability to personalize their brushing experience to their liking. When your child is able to make their own choices, this will help spark interest in dental care so that it will seem like less of a chore.
5. Offer Rewards and Incentives
Finally, it’s a good idea to remember that a little bribe here and there can help when trying to keep your kids on the path to proper child dental care. You can start small by offering your child extra playtime or a treat over the weekend. We don’t necessarily recommend implementing big rewards on a daily basis, however, as this can set an expectation of gifts in your child’s mind- something you don’t want. Smaller rewards spread out over a period of time allow you to gently wean off of this technique while still encouraging good child dental care.
The Path to Proper Dental Care Starts At Advanced Indiana
Now that you know some of the best ways to approach child dental care, it’s time to start your kids on the path to proper dental care here at Advanced Indiana. We offer a variety of dental services to serve you and your family. To learn more about how to care for your child’s teeth at home, contact our office today by calling (765) 622-7000 (our Anderson office) or (317) 485-7000 (our Fortville office). You can also request an appointment for your child online. We’re looking forward to working alongside you to keep your child’s mouth happy and healthy!
Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash