Need some tips for oral care with kids? We have them! Getting kids motivated to quit playing and go do something that seems so boring, like brushing their teeth, may seem like a losing battle. However, supporting good oral hygiene habits from a young age sets them up for good oral health habits for the rest of their lives. If your child loves Halloween candy, but hates brushing his teeth, our team has some spook-tacular TRICKS to help your kids see dental care as a TREAT.
When it comes to establishing a good foundation of oral care, parents play an essential role. Kids rely on you for instructions, yes. But, they also watch your example and attitudes about oral care (and sugar consumption). To help your kids appreciate their pearly whites, teach them to care and respect them. Consider adapting some of the following tips for oral care with kids to help them stay healthy and positive.
Children love to feel big. They love to feel like they can make choices on their own. Help them feel some ownership over carrying for their smiles by allowing them to participate in purchasing some of the vital tools. Picking out a toothbrush they love can help them look forward to brushing. Finding a toothpaste that they find appealing can also make brushing time more pleasant. (Some kids are very sensitive to mint flavors. But the good news is that toothpastes come in a range of flavors now so you can find one they like. Often, toothpaste packaging may depict one of your child’s favorite heroes as well. Allowing them to choose a character that inspires them will aid in their attitudes about brushing.
Children are visual learners. Pictures and words can really drive home a point. As can fun characters. Colgate has a fun educational video, “Meet the Tooth Defenders” that can help engage young minds in the quest for strong teeth. Crest also has produced a fun video for kids called the Crest Dental Defenders. The Little Fox network also produced a video about going to the dentist that you could share with your kids. There are a wide range of videos with more tips for oral care with kids that you can find by doing a quick search on YouTube as well.
Kids love technology. Apps can be a great way to keep them informed on oral care while also reminding them of their part in it. A free app you could consider is the Toothsavers game by 2min2x. In this app, kids can learn about oral care and can also keep track of their brushing (all while saving a fairy tale kingdom). Incorporating fun into daily brushing and hygiene goals can be an effective way to help your kids stick to it.
Apps can work, or you can find a fun timer to help count down the time your child should be brushing their teeth (2 minutes). Several automatic toothbrushes come with built-in timers as well to help monitor the amount of time needed to get all four quadrants of the mouth clean. (Need a little refresher on the proper way to brush the teeth? Click here. Or, here is a fun video from Colgate that teaches about brushing teeth that your kids will enjoy.)
Positive incentives to help motivate children can yield fantastic results. Consider offering children gold stars, stickers or other rewards for brushing and flossing their teeth. (Developing consistent oral health habits is the greatest reward you will ever give them.)
When setting up a reward system, consider starting with small rewards. Such as, if he or she brushes and flosses regularly for an entire week they get a reward. Then, something else if they brush and floss for two weeks (or longer.)
Also, as part of our healthy body healthy teeth goal, make sure your rewards are non-candy or sugar rewards. Look for ways to reward behavior that isn’t counterproductive to their amazing efforts!
Time with mom or dad equals love in your child’s eyes. Create a tradition that they can associate after a dental visit. Do they have a favorite park? Or a favorite activity that you all do together? Do they like puzzles or games? Let your child know that a trip to the dentist, and the time after, is something to look forward to!
One of the biggest parts of the equation for helping your child have a positive association with oral care is the dentist your choose.
When it comes to choosing a dentist for your child or teen, consider a dentist that not only has experience treating this particular age group but one who is passionate about children’s dentistry.
Working with children’s dentistry makes Dr. Botero feel useful. And creating smiles while eliminating pain brings her personal and professional completeness.
“I understand that each child is unique and like to take my time working with them to overcome dental anxiety and fear. My patient’s dental health, comfort, and happiness are what motivates me to do my absolute best every day,” Dr. Botero says.
So, do you have a child that harbors fears of going to the dentist? Because our staff works very hard at explaining the actual need of the treatment and process, patient fears and anxieties are eased. Dr. Botero has a great reputation for treating children that are too scared of the dentist and terrified of having dental treatment done.
“I am passionate about making children understand the importance of taking care of their teeth. Because of this, I strive to educate parents about the importance of establishing strong dental care habits and saving teeth for as long as possible,” Dr. Botero says.
Our Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry offers our families and kids a well-trained staff with developed systems that allow patients and parents to move quickly through the treatment process with enjoyment and less fear! Call 813-576-0200 to schedule a children’s dentistry consultation with Dr. Botero today and to receive more tips for oral care with kids!