Kids learn a lot by simply observing the people around them. And since you, as their parents, are around them the most, they will learn the most from you! They will watch you, pick up your habits, and before you know it they are copying your subconscious behaviors that you didn’t even realize you had. But because of this, it is also easy to teach them good habits that may be otherwise hard to teach them, such as dental care.
Tips For Teaching Your Child Good Dental Habits
At Thornton Kids Dentistry, we offer a variety of pediatric dental care services that help keep your kiddo’s teeth and gums healthy! Oral hygiene is one thing that you should teach your child starting at a young age. While it is not only important to take care of their baby teeth, even though they will eventually fall out, teaching them to have good dental habits can help them make oral care a priority later in life. Teaching your child how to properly care for their teeth and gums, especially at a young age, can be a challenge, but these tips can help! Read this blog to learn more and be sure to schedule regular dental cleanings for your kiddo at Thornton Kids Dentistry.
Start As Early As Possible
Your child's dental care habits should start early. You should start brushing your baby’s teeth when their first tooth shows up or when they turn one, whichever comes first. By starting as early as possible, you can help make dental care a normal part of the day, helping your child learn this habit and continue to take care of their teeth as they grow older. By keeping their teeth healthy at a young age, you can help them see the importance of brushing twice a day!
Be An Example
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, kids learn a lot by watching other people. If they see you taking care of your teeth, brushing and flossing twice a day, they are more likely to do the same. By being a good example and making your own oral hygiene a priority, your child will learn these behaviors and follow suit. If your child sees you skip brushing your teeth as you are rushing out the door for work every morning, they will begin to think that their own dental health is not as important as other things. Lead by example, make your dental health a priority, and your children will do the same.
Do It Together
If you have a hard time getting your kiddo to brush their teeth in the morning or at night, make it a family activity! They will be much more likely to brush their teeth if you do it with them. This is also a great way to ensure that they are doing it right and brushing for the full two minutes. When you brush your teeth together, you can supervise without making it seem like you are supervising, because kids don’t like feeling like you are just watching them and waiting for a chance to correct them. You can exaggerate the way you brush your teeth to show them how you get every side and move your toothbrush in slow and circular motions. This is a great way to teach them without them feeling like you are scolding them.
Make It Fun
Let’s be honest, brushing your teeth is not fun. But by making it fun you can help your child make it more of a priority and begin to develop a habit of caring for their teeth. Put some music on while you brush, play a game, or throw on a funny two-minute video that will keep your kiddos entertained while they brush. By making an effort to make this “chore” more exciting and fun, you can ensure that your children stick with it and develop the habit of caring for their teeth.
Get a Special Toothbrush
Another way to make brushing their teeth more fun and exciting is to get your kiddos a special toothbrush! There are a variety of kids' toothbrushes that feature popular TV and movie characters, play music, and make brushing more fun for your little one. Getting your child a fun toothbrush will make them look forward to brushing their teeth more. Let them pick out their own toothbrush so that they are excited to use it.
Get a Timer
A timer is a great way to help teach kids how long they should brush their teeth. Whether you get a one or two-minute sand timer or use a different type of timer, this can help ensure that your children are brushing their teeth for the right amount of time. It also gives them a visual that can help them see how long they have been brushing and how much longer they have to go. Many kids won’t brush their teeth for longer than 30 seconds if they don’t have something to tell them to brush for a longer period of time, so a timer is a handy tool!
Make It a Habit
While all of these tips are meant to help you make dental care a habit for your kids, this tip is a little more specific. It is so easy to let your kids not brush their teeth after a long night or if you are running late to school. It is easy to let them fall asleep on the couch and carry them to bed without making them brush their teeth. But this is going to teach them that dental care is something that only needs to be done when you have the time or when it is convenient. If you want your children to make their oral hygiene a priority, you need to make it something that you do every single day, no exceptions. This will help them learn that it is an important part of their daily routine and establish that habit.
Teaching your child good dental care habits can be a challenge, especially since children don’t see the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day. But it is important to work with them and help them make their oral health a priority. Hopefully, these tips help you through the process!
It is also important to bring your kiddos in for regular dental cleanings and checkups. Be sure to schedule your appointment at Thornton Kids Dentistry today! Our caring and compassionate team will make sure that your child gets the dental care they need without making them scared of the dentist. Contact us today to learn more. We are more than happy to answer any of your questions.