3 Tips to Teach Your Kids to Brush and Floss
Oral hygiene isn’t a top priority for kids even if they know they should be brushing and flossing at least twice per day. The fact is that brushing and flossing just isn’t as much fun as playing video games or doing the million other things kids enjoy more. Of course, as a parent, you know how important proper oral hygiene is.
That’s why teaching your kids to brush and floss is an important job for every parent. Use these three tips to teach your child to brush and floss the right way. Proper oral hygiene habits that they learn as kids will stay with them as adults so they have healthy teeth their whole lives.
Create a Routine
Kids thrive on routine and oral hygiene practices aren’t any different. To teach your kids to maintain their dental health the right way, setting up a routine that they can follow is a great option.
Brushing and flossing after meals is important, but for children, taking care of their teeth when they wake up and before bed should be your primary focus. Those are the most important times when kids need to brush and floss the right way.
To set up this routine, spend time supervising your child when they’re brushing and flossing each day. You can tell them a story, listen to music, or anything else that gets them interested. Setting up the routine as part of their day is what’s really important.
Set a Timer
As an adult, you probably don’t need to set a timer to make sure you brush your teeth long enough. You already know that oral hygiene is important and not taking care of your teeth properly can be expensive and painful! Kids don’t know these things yet and are unfamiliar with the consequences that will follow if they don’t take care of their teeth the right way.
One of the best ways to get your child into the habit of brushing for the appropriate two to three minutes is to set a timer. An egg timer near where your child brushes their teeth is ideal because even they can use it on their own. In a pinch, a timer on your phone or simply counting can work as well.
Setting up a timer ensures that your child will brush for the right amount of time, but it also serves a more important function. It gets them into the habit of brushing correctly from an early age.
Make it Fun
You can’t reward your child with candy for brushing their teeth, but that doesn’t mean dental hygiene has to be a dreaded chore for your kids. Providing incentives or making dental hygiene a game can get kids excited to brush while teaching them the right way to brush and floss.
From a few minutes of TV time to reading to your child once they’ve finished brushing, incentives should be easy to come by. Even playing silly games where your child has to remove the “plaque monsters” from their teeth can make them more interested in brushing.
Even more important is your attitude when it comes to brushing and flossing. Sure, it’s important, but punishing your child for not flossing won’t work in the long run. Make it fun and comfortable so brushing and flossing isn’t something your child dreads.
Teaching your kids proper oral hygiene is essential to their health. Do it right and they’ll take the lessons they learn with them through their adult years. After all, dental hygiene that kids learn early on makes a huge difference in their dental health as adults.
To learn more about good oral hygiene for the whole family, visit Dr. Manuel Stefan and find out how you can get and maintain a beautiful smile!