Developing a life-long habit of good dental health starts at an early age. While it’s important for your children to practice good oral care now, it’s even more important that they develop the habits that will sustain them for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, this is also one of the most difficult things children and parents try to do together. If your children are like most, they hate brushing their teeth. Or, they want to do it on their own and don’t get the job done right.
Most children don’t understand (or care) about how important maintaining a healthy mouth is. Rather than battling with your children over the routine, try these four tips that will help make things more fun.
1. Make a Brushing Calendar
Every month, print out an American Dental Association brushing calendar for your kids. It’ll include two boxes for each day that they can check off after their done brushing in the morning and in the evening.
Another option is to let them design their own calendar. This lets you mix a fun art project in with dental health. Just have them follow the same pattern as the ADA calendar and you’re all set.
Each month, hang the calendar on the refrigerator or bathroom wall so your kids can tick off the boxes after every time they brush. At the end of the month, have a reward for them for ticking off each and every box.
2. Listen to Healthy Mouth Care Music Together
Would you believe that the ADA has an entire playlist of healthy mouth music designed just for your children? You’ll find awesome songs featuring Sesame Street with Nicole Kidman and the ADA’s own Dudley the Dinosaur.
These are tunes that you and your children can truly enjoy together! Pop them on when it’s time to start brushing and make it a brush/dance fest.
3. Make a Personalized Bib
Here’s another chance to get your children’s art skills into the dental hygiene game. Have them craft a personalized bib that they can wear when it’s time to go to the dentist. This will help ease fear and make the trip a fun event.
All you’ll need for this project is:
- A picture of or genuine dental bib as a pattern
- Paper towels
- Crayons and markers
- White and colored papers
- Glue and tape
With these materials you can start an art project for your kids to create a bib that’s all their own. They can put their name on the bib along with words of encouragement.
4. There’s Always the Tooth Fairy
The tooth fairy is a big part of childhood folklore, where the fairy comes in at night and exchanges baby teeth for money under your child’s pillow. In your home, make sure your children know that the tooth fairy has a requirement that the teeth must be clean and taken care of. This will be a big incentive for your children to practice the best oral hygiene possible.
All you need to do is add a little bit of good dental health discipline to the tooth fairy story you tell. See how much that motivates them to tick off the boxes on their calendar every single day.
It’s Never Too Early To Begin Practicing Good Dental Health
As you can see, there are tons of ways you can teach your children about good dental health while still making it as fun as possible.
Our favorites are the ADA’s resources, including Dudley the Dinosaur. Dudley’s YouTube videos are an excellent way to teach your children about brushing, flossing and going to the dentist.
Just keep in mind that dental health for your children doesn’t have to be a daily struggle. Try these four tips out today and make it fun!