Teaching your kids healthy dental habits early in life will keep their teeth pearly white and prevent all sorts of other diseases related to poor dental hygiene, from periodontal disease to diabetes. But getting kids excited about taking care of their teeth can be tricky. Start your kiddos out on the right track by using these tricks to make taking care of their teeth a fun part of their everyday routine.
1. Sing a song
Let’s face it: Singing a song automatically makes everything more fun. Use a song to make sure you’re spending enough time brushing and to help make it a fun part of your everyday routine, both morning and at nighttime. Here are videos of seven of the best tooth brushing songs from the American Dental Association, including a couple of Sesame Street tunes even a few parents might remember.
2. Electric toothbrush
There are a couple of advantages for getting your kids electric toothbrushes over manual ones. First, they’re just more fun. And anything you can do to make brushing more fun will encourage kids to do it regularly. But an electric toothbrush also has practical advantages. Little, developing hands don’t work so well, and an electric toothbrush boosts the amount of work those bristles can do on those tiny teeth.
3. Get an app
There are plenty of apps out there to make brushing and flossing fun for kids and encourage them to set healthy habits. Here’s a list of more than 100 apps to get your kid brushing in no time for kids who think doing anything with the help of a phone or tablet makes it cooler.
4. Model good behaviors
As a parent, you know your kids are going to follow whatever examples you set. If your kiddos see you religiously brushing and flossing and taking care of your teeth, they’ll be more likely to do the same.
5. Think about a dentist just for kids
This is just a tip from one parent to another: Think about going to a dentist that specializes in treating children, also known as a pediatric dentist. Many dentists cater specifically to kids with games and activities that make the trip to the dentist far more fun and relaxing, from fun sunglasses to protect their eyes from the light to bubblegum-flavored toothpaste. Anything you can do to create a positive, fun experience for your child at the dentist while they’re young can give them a positive feeling that will last through adulthood, when it gets easy to put off those recommended visits every six months.
6. Handheld flossers
Dentists recommend flossing between teeth daily, and as little hands develop, it might be hard for them to handle a strand of floss wrapped around their fingers. Try a handheld flosser for kids. They’re easy to use and come in bright, cartoon colors.
7. Talk about healthy nutrition
Again, this is all about example here. And just like modeling good brushing and flossing habits, it’s important to talk to your kids about good nutrition and the damage sugary sweets and soda can do to your teeth, to make plenty of healthy choices available and to make sure that when you do indulge, you brush those teeth afterward to keep cavities away.