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Ask a Family Dentist: How Can I Encourage My Child to Brush Their Teeth?
Any family dentist will tell you that one of the necessary life skills all children need to learn is brushing their teeth. Even though you know it is important to brush your teeth, the concept of gum disease or cavities is most probably lost on your child. Most children do not see the big deal when it comes to not brushing teeth. This is why making your child get in the habit of brushing twice every day for two minutes may not be easy. Fortunately, a little creativity can help when it comes to your child’s dental health.
Tips from a family dentist
Explaining to children the importance of proper dental care is not enough to encourage them to take care of their teeth. But it is possible to bring playfulness to brushing. If a kid will not brush, there are some ways the parent can establish this healthy habit. Here are some effective ways to encourage a child to brush regularly.
Making it fun
A parent should turn tooth-brushing into a game. This may involve putting on an upbeat song for two minutes while the kid brushes and having a mini-dance party. Brushing apps or videos may also make the two minutes fly by. The parent can also try reading a 2-minute story using different voices. Whatever a parent decides to do, it is vital to be creative and switch things up to ensure brushing time is always a good and fun time.
Rewarding a kid for brushing can be effective. But the most ideal reward will depend on the age and interests of the child. For example, a child under the age of eight might be receptive to a funny or interesting bedtime story. But this should only be after brushing the teeth. For an older child, a good reward might be being allowed to watch a favorite TV show between brushing and bed.
Creating a star chart may also help. Each time the child brushes without being asked, morning or night, the child should get a star or sticker. After earning five stars, the child may be given a prize. If the kid makes it to 10, something slightly better should be offered.
Giving the child a choice
The child should be given a choice of which products to use. This will encourage the kid to embrace the routine. The child should be allowed to choose a brush and toothpaste that stands out from the oral care aisle. Choosing a toothbrush that features a beloved cartoon character might make brushing more fun. Fluoride toothpaste also comes in a variety of colors and flavors.
With a little creativity, your child may end up looking forward to brushing the teeth. After starting a routine, you should stick to it. You should not allow your child to skip brushing. This will make it easier for your kid to brush twice every day for two minutes. You should also always set a good example because your child learns from you. If you want to learn more about ways to improve your child’s dental health, talk to your family dentist.
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