“Did you brush your teeth?”
It’s a question all parents have asked their children. Because we realize the value of healthy teeth and a beautiful smile, we want them to learn to care for their teeth every day.
Here are some simple but effective ideas from Dr. Ryan’s team to help you develop good oral healthcare habits in your children.
Brushing your teeth is not generally seen as a fun experience, but doing it with your kids can make it a special time for you and for them. Habits are more often “caught” than “taught.” So if they see you brushing your teeth, they will usually mimic your behavior. (As a healthy bonus for you, brushing when they go to bed may keep you from snacking later in the night.)
Rather than picking a toothbrush for your kids, let them choose one. Of course you will want a brand or type recommended by our team, but letting your kids pick the color or design can be really beneficial. It becomes “their” toothbrush. Owning their own special toothbrush helps them also take ownership of their oral healthcare.
Different children have different tastes. To make brushing a good experience, help your kids choose a toothpaste flavor that tastes good to them. We encourage you to ask our dental team for recommendations that are both healthy and taste great.
Though you may join your children for tooth brushing at night, that approach may not work in the mornings. You can still make morning brushing a memorable experience. Every week or every day post a sticky note on their mirror with a memorable quotation, a funny joke, or some words of encouragement from you. Eventually your child will connect brushing their teeth with the memorable sticky notes and look forward to the experience.
From some that play music to others that are branded with characters children love, companies are getting highly creative with toothbrushes. Feel free to get creative as well. Maybe you can create a silly tooth-brushing dance to do with your kids, or play a certain song every time you join them, or do a Sudoku puzzle while brushing. We’d love to hear your stories so we can pass them on to the rest of our dental families.
If brushing becomes an enjoyable time for your children, they’ll look forward to it every day. Once it becomes a habit, it will be hard to break. They might even grow up to pass it on to their children.