An often-overlooked challenge of parenthood is making sure your children are brushing their teeth regularly. In America, this is supported by the fact that just about half of all children in their early adolescence will face some form of tooth decay. Children’s oral health is important, as are their habits that contribute to their dental hygiene. Establishing good habits as a young child makes it easier to maintain these habits through adulthood. This is why it’s imperative that parents look to use any strategy necessary to keep their children brushing at an early age.
This is often easier said than done, however. To most children, brushing their teeth is just another chore they wish to avoid. It’s up to parents to frame brushing in a way that encourages their children. While this isn’t always the easiest thing to accomplish, there are a number of strategies that can make the process a bit less of a struggle for parents.
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The Sooner, The Better:
Parents will have a much easier time with monitoring their child’s oral hygiene if they start forming these habits at a young age. In most instances it is suggested that parents begin allowing their children to hold their own toothbrush the moment they feel comfortable enough to do so. Getting the brush in their hand so they can learn how to brush on their own is of utmost importance.
The Brushing Game:
Framing is extremely important for children. Sometimes even the most mundane tasks can become fun for them if they’re convinced enough. One way to do this is through turning their brushing time into a game or some form of experience that will keep children excited to brush. One of the newer ways in which parents accomplish this are through online games or apps designed to interact with children throughout their two minutes brushing. Making it fun makes it easier to establish the habit.
Monkey See, Monkey Do:
A common phrase amongst children, largely attributed to their innate need to mimic those around them. Using this to their advantage, parents can increase the frequency in which they brush or always brush around their children in order to pass the habit along to them. A family-oriented tradition of brushing teeth together can often be very successful in establishing lasting brushing habits.
While families won’t necessary require a specialist meant to develop these habits, typically a child’s dentist can be a great resource for struggling parents. In many instances, children fear their trips to the dentist, especially if they don’t keep up with brushing regularly. Having the dentist explain to the children that the more they brush, the more likely their checkups will be painless, is a great strategy to forming lasting habits.
While these tips might solve some families’ brushing woes, other families may still be left struggling. For additional information on how to keep your children brushing regularly, be sure to check out the featured infographic coupled with this post. Courtesy of Sycamore Hills Dentistry.