Children have many priorities in their lives. Between dodgeball, what colour construction paper to use, or even whether or not they want to draw the sun at the corner of the page or in the middle. It makes sense that brushing their teeth gets bumped down a few spaces on the priority list.
Unfortunately by the age of five, cavities do begin to appear in your children’s teeth. According to a Canadian study, 51 million hours of school is missed hourly due to oral problems stemming from lack of teeth brushing. But what can we do? Listed are a few ways you can make brushing more interesting and fun for your kids:
1. Don’t Nag and Show Them: As a parent, nagging becomes second nature. But sometimes it may not be as effective as you might think, like with brushing. Instead, brush your own teeth with your kids. Children have a tendency to mimic whatever their parents are doing. If you’re setting a good example, then they will follow it.
2. Make Brushing an Adventure: Just looking at yourself brushing in front of the mirror is kind of boring, so imagine how your child must feel. Make up small games for them to play while brushing like “Defeating the Cavity Monsters” or get them to name every single tooth with a whacky name so they know “who” they are cleaning. Creativity is key here.
3. Play a Small Cartoon Clip: It should take about two minutes twice a day for your child to brush her teeth. In the meantime, why not play a short video to get them to go the distance? A national pediatric dentistry campaign has even provided many two-minute cartoon clips of popular children’s programs (here’s the link: http://2min2x.org/)
4. Have Them Use a “Cooler” Brush: Giving your child a brush that they admire and are proud to use really goes a long way. This may seem as an exaggeration, but blinking lights and sounds on a toothbrush, for a child, can make brushing a legendary experience. You can even go further and get some cool toothpaste too with different flavors. Be careful to use your own judgement when choosing these kinds of toothpastes though, as some may be of lower quality.
5. Always Be Consistent: Always try your best to make sure your child never misses a day of brushing. If they do, ideas can form in their head about it being alright to brush once a day, or even not at all. Start planting the idea that your children must brush twice a day early in their lives so that it requires less work and persistence for you in the future.
6. Story Time: Nothing can inform or scare a child more than a good story. Telling your child a story about how you had to get your teeth “drilled” by the dentist because you didn’t brush enough is what really makes a lasting impression. Although effective, try not to demonize the dentist at the same time because you do not want them to get the wrong idea about that.
At your Accord Dental Clinic in Kitsilano we take pride in showing your children how to brush with excellent tricks and tips. We also provide cool brushes and extra toothpaste if the little ones are already set.