How to teach your kids to take care of their teeth?
As a parent, you teach your kids plenty of important lessons, and how to take care of their teeth is one of them. After all, the teeth are the only bones in the human body that can’t repair themselves, and dental work can be very expensive if teeth aren’t well looked after.
Why is it so important to look after your children’s baby teeth?
It’s a common misconception that looking after baby teeth isn’t important since “they will just fall out eventually anyway”. The truth is that baby teeth are still vulnerable to cavities, so unless you want your children to learn this lesson the hard way, you’ll need to teach them the importance of good oral hygiene. This will also set them up for successful dentist trips as an adult, and although you can’t put a price on a clean bill of health, it could add up to thousands of dollars in savings. All you need is a handful of toothbrushing parenting hacks to take the stress out of that twice-daily bathroom trip! Follow these tips on how to get your kids to brush their teeth and smile, knowing that you’re saving them money and pain in the long run.
Every child’s favorite question is “Why?” – and it’s not always easy to answer, but in this case, you’ll be able to line up a simple win, and maybe even get your kids on board with the whole tooth brushing thing. Kids ask questions because they’re curious, and if you put yourself in their shoes, you might find that their questions make a lot of sense. Why are we sticking a piece of plastic into our mouths and swishing it around? And why do we then need to slide a piece of string in between each of our teeth? These are great questions, and you probably already know the answers, so explain them to them in simple terms. Tell them about how food and drinks can stain our teeth or get stuck in between them and cause cavities – they’ll be brushing twice daily in no time.
Involve them in the process
Kids love to make their own decisions, and as soon as you give them the opportunity to make a choice, they’re far more likely to be receptive to the toothbrushing habit. Let them choose their own toothbrush (you can’t go wrong with their favorite animated character) and a fluoride toothpaste they like, and you’ll be amazed at the positive change in even the most apprehensive attitude. The same goes for their diet. Teach them about the importance of limiting sugary foods, and let them choose their own healthy snack options you can prepare together. They’ll love it!
Brush and floss with them
Kids learn so many life lessons just by watching and following your example, and you should never underestimate the importance of showing (rather than telling) them the right way. Whether they’ll admit it to you or not, your kids want to be just like you when they grow up – even if it means brushing and flossing every day – and when they see you doing just that, they’ll be more inclined to do the same. The bottom line is that your kids just love the opportunity to spend time with you and learn from you, even if that time is spent doing something as seemingly mundane as brushing their teeth.
Make tooth brushing fun
For most adults, brushing teeth is just another thing on the daily to-do list, but most kids aren’t exactly captivated by the whole “to-do list” idea. The only thing on their to-do list is having fun – and with a few tweaks, they’ll find that even brushing their teeth can fit under that umbrella. Singing, dancing, playing music, and telling stories are all great ways to up the fun factor, and they take hardly any planning or extra time on your part. Want to go in prepared? Come up with a handful of two-minute tooth brushing songs or stories and leave the kids on a cliffhanger until the next tooth brushing time.
Work it into the routine
Kids need a good routine for their mental health and sense of safety – and you, as a parent, can use that information to your advantage when it comes to teeth time! Set yourself a reminder at the same time every day and let your kids know that it’s time to brush their teeth. They might be hesitant at first, but they’ll come around – especially if you’ve followed the last tip. Toothbrushing might just become the most exciting part of their morning routine!
Teaching your kids to brush their teeth is simple, but teaching them to keep up with this positive habit for the rest of their lives? Not so much. It is, however, hugely rewarding to watch them grow into more responsible young people who take pride in looking after themselves and staying healthy – and this will stand them in good stead for the future.