Oral Health for Kids – Top 6 Ways that Parents Can Make Oral Health Fun

Posted by: Dr. Erwin Su, on May 22, 2013

Oral health is vitally important for the overall health of both adults and children. Establishing proper oral health habits is important at an early age. While primary teeth do fall out, they are not fully replaced by adult teeth until between 10 and 12 years of age. That’s a long time! Establishing good habits will help prevent cavities in these primary teeth and will serve your child’s teeth for their whole life. Try some of these six easy ways to help get your child excited about their oral health:

Stay Upbeat
It can be hard to get toddlers excited about brushing, especially when we adults feel like it is a chore too. Stay upbeat and positive about the whole process and on particularly stubborn days, go into the bathroom, talk loudly to grab their attention and make lots of noise. If they feel like they are missing out on the fun, they are much more likely to come see what they are missing out on.

Make It Up
Spin a story that will engage your particular child’s interests and make brushing teeth interesting. Make up a story about sugar bugs or evil bacteria and a floss or toothbrush hero whose job it is to save the day by kicking them out. Your child will excitedly help Mr. Toothbrush get rid of those evil bugs!

Focus on Strong and Healthy Teeth
Describe brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits, as ways to make sure your child’s teeth are ‘clean’ ‘strong’ and ‘healthy.’ Don’t over emphasize cavities, gingivitis, or other oral health issues.  Your child will be proud to be the owner of strong, clean teeth!

Play Pretend
Mention dentists are a type of doctor and encourage your child to play pretend dentist, just as they would pretend doctor. Also, you can have a mock dental visit, where your child practices opening their mouth and you count each tooth with the back of a toothbrush. Let your child have a turn playing the dentist as well, examining your mouth.

Pick the Right Reward
Avoid sending mixed messages by giving suckers or other sugary snacks after a trip to the dentist. Use stickers or even a small toy. Also, at home, you can use a sticker system to keep track of how many times they willing brush and floss. Once they hit a certain number, give them a low stakes reward, such as letting them pick out a new toothbrush.

Get the Accessories
Investing in kid friendly toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste can be a great way to get them excited about using them. Child sized flosses come in bright colors and they can go a long way to making flossing more exciting.

Be a good role model, let your child see your good oral hygiene habits, whether is brushing, flossing or choosing good snacks like apples or cheese. Even better, make brushing and flossing a family affair!

Categories: Dental Health