When dental care is fun for kids, they’re more likely to keep up with good oral hygiene habits. Our team does everything we can to make your child’s visits to our office a positive experience, but you can reinforce proper brushing and flossing habits at home with these tips.
Start by choosing a Child-friendly practice.
Most parents will be surprised to discover that a large number of dental practices do not encourage children in. Often, adults are patients at the same practice for many years and then discover that their children are not welcome – except for a one-off check-up.
This is because to encourage children in, every member of the Practice team must be prepared to nurture the child into compliance. Some practices are not geared to handling children or the nature of their work is purely adult-focussed.
At our practice, we encourage parents to start a Lifelong journey of excellent teeth for themselves and their children, by choosing us. We invite them to visit the practice anytime they please, bring their children in, have a coffee while seated in reception and in doing so, make the dental practice a familiar environment for their children. They do not need to make an appointment to drop in, except to mention to our Practice Manager that you are showing your child around the clinic.
Start early & learn to care for your child’s Oral health.
When you are expecting your first child, talk to us about your vision for their Oral Health. Parents have to learn gentle ways to introduce Oral health procedures to their children and these begin with Trust. Children will trust their parents to use a moist wash-cloth to wipe the mouth and gums before any teeth appear. This action grows into parents wiping their baby’s teeth with the same cloth and gradually moving into finger brushing.
Allowing a parent to brush is an act of Faith and Trust. Gradually, the child will be introduced to the Child-friendly dental practice and the Fun of great oral health has just begun.
Set a Good Example
Brush and floss your teeth along with your child. When they see that you brush for a full two minutes and floss between all of your teeth, they’re more likely to do it too. Young kids are eager to mimic what their older siblings and parents do, so setting a good example will go a long way to inspiring children to take care of their teeth and gums. It’s also a good idea to brush together so you can keep an eye on what your little ones are doing—many children need gentle reminders to brush thoroughly, and it’s not uncommon for them to require a helping hand from mum or dad to reach the backs of the teeth and molars. The disclosing solution makes this easier.
It is fun for Kids to Pick Their Own Toothbrush
The next time your child needs a new toothbrush, take them with you to the store and let them choose the brush they like best. A colorful toothbrush with a fun design or favorite cartoon character is more likely to get them excited about brushing every day! Just make sure the brush has soft bristles and that the head is the right size for your child. Teach them “How to choose a toothbrush”.
Fun with the use of a Disclosing solution
Caring 4 Smiles has formulated a “Plaque disclosing solution” to make brushing fun. You place a few drops under their tongue, add a small sip of water and swishing around, will stain dental plaque red. Teach children to brush effectively, so as to remove all the red staining.
Using the disclosing solution once or twice a week is good practice in the early years.
Be careful not to spill the solution on clothes and carpets.
Use a Timer
You can find all kinds of unique kitchen timers in the shape of chickens, cows, pigs, and more. Even though you might not need one in the kitchen, they’re perfect for placing next to the bathroom sink so kids can wind them up and keep track of the time they spend brushing! These timers are much more fun than a smartphone, and even very young kids can learn how to use them.
Find a 2-Minute Song
As an alternative to a timer, find a song your child likes that lasts two minutes. Play it each time they brush their teeth. They’ll know that when the song is done, they’re finished brushing!
Choose a Flavored Toothpaste and Floss
As adults, we appreciate having minty fresh breath after brushing and flossing, but kids are fans of fun flavors. These days, you can find both toothpaste and floss in a variety of flavors that get kids excited about dental care. We recommend always seeking out a fluoride toothpaste, which offers the best protection against tooth decay. Of course, fluoride toothpastes are for children who have learned to rinse and spit out all the toothpaste.
Set Up a Reward System
It’s best for children to have intrinsic motivation to make good choices, and this is true for their oral hygiene habits, too. Ideally, kids will brush and floss because they know it’s important, but the reality is that most kids need a little prodding when it comes to taking care of their teeth and gums. If you reward your child for chores and such, you may want to consider giving them a gold star or sticker each day they brush and floss properly.
Learn More About Pediatric Dentistry
If you’d like to learn more about how to make dental care fun for kids, contact us today at 09 631 5416 to schedule a consultation appointment with one of our child-friendly Oral Health Therapists or Dentists at Caring 4 Smiles.