It is hard to get your kids to do something they don’t think is fun, and there is not much about taking care of their teeth that seems fun. You can try to lecture them about how they need to brush and floss to keep from getting cavities and toothaches, but those things typically aren’t very high on a child’s list of things to care about. You can also just “make” them do it, which may work in the short term, but it will not help them to develop healthy oral hygiene habits that they will then carry into their teenage years and adulthood.
Overmeyer Family Dental, here in Orlando, wants to help you help your kids get excited about healthy dental home care, so that they can develop habits that will help them keep their teeth healthy longer.
Get some music going and the mouthwash flowing, it’s time for a tooth brushing party! Well, maybe not quite a party, but you can make brushing time more fun for the kids by playing some of their favorite music while they do it.
Brushing your teeth has a rhythm to it, so it makes sense that music would go right along with taking care of your teeth. Choose an uptempo tune, so your kids can brush in time to the music and get their teeth sparkling clean. Try to use a song that is two or three minutes long, since that is about how long they need to brush their teeth. Now you have a built in timer!
Just make sure that your kids are brushing all their teeth, front and back. And don’t forget that tongue!
Color Code Your Brushes
One way to makes brushing more fun for your children is to get them several different brushes in a variety of colors. You can have them designate a specific color for each day of the week. This is an especially helpful technique for young children who are just learning the days of the week and the names of colors. It makes brushing healthy, educational, and fun!
Another thing you can do is have your child pick a color of toothbrush to describe what mood he is in. This not only encourages healthy oral hygiene, it opens up opportunities for healthy discussion about feelings.
Play a Game
You can always incorporate a game into your children’s brushing routine. For instance, have them pretend to be their favorite animals. How does a komodo dragon brush its teeth? How does a sea turtle floss? You could also make it an animal guessing game. Let them brush like the animal of their choice, and you guess what it is. Engage your children’s imagination and they’ll forget they are doing something that is good for them.
Or you could turn brushing into a game of Simon Says. This way you not only make dental care fun, you can actually instruct your children on proper brushing technique while you do it. Simon says, brush your back teeth. Simon says, brush your tongue. Now spit in the sink. I didn’t say Simon Says!
Read While They Brush
Brushing before bed is the perfect time to combine two healthy habits: dental care and reading. Odds are you are already reading to your kids every night, anyway. So why not have the kids brush and floss while you do, so you will save precious time at night, and they will learn to associate healthy oral hygiene with something fun, like storytime.
For small children, you can read short poems, Mother Goose, or fairy tales. For older children, you might read a chapter from a larger story, like Charlotte’s Web, or Harry Potter. This will have them looking forward to brushing their teeth because they know they’ll hear the next chapter from the story.
Brush As a Family
No matter what techniques you decide to employ, they will be more effective if you brush with your kids. They will beg to brush when they see you jamming out to some Beyonce while cleaning your teeth. Imagine the look on their face when they see you brushing like a gorilla. The sillier, the better. Make brushing a family event, and your kids will love it. Then they will have healthy habits to carry throughout their lives.
Also, don’t forget to bring them into Overmeyer Family Dental for regular cleanings and examinations. When you bring your kids to our office in Orlando at an early age, they will be more at ease at the dentist and less likely to experience dental anxiety.
Contact us today and schedule an examination for your children and get them started on a lifetime of healthy dental care.