“Eat your veggies!”
“Wash your hands!”
“Do your homework!”
As any parent knows, there are some things that are almost impossible to convince your kids to do.
And one of the most important? Brushing their teeth!
How many times have you tried to convince your children to brush their teeth, only to be greeted with a tantrum? It’s not fun… however, developing good oral habits early is crucial, as your kids will carry these habits (and healthy, shiny teeth) well into adulthood.
How can you get your kids to brush? Our family dentist in Armadale explains!
Why oral health for children matters
Develop strong and healthy teeth and gums
Your child’s teeth are still developing – if you want them to grow into healthy, white teeth, good oral hygiene is a must-have!
Since children have milk teeth, the best way to prepare them for their permanent teeth once they start erupting is to establish essential oral care habits that can protect the roots and parts of the permanent teeth.
Avoid tooth decay and gum disease
These are like the three musketeers of an unhealthy mouth… and all of them can be easily prevented with regular brushing and good oral hygiene!
When you neglect brushing (or have a poor technique), you leave food residue in the mouth.
This feeds bacteria, which can create plaque or eat through your teeth, and even affect the gums.
How can I get my kids to brush more?
You know why brushing is important – what you don’t know however is how you can get your kids to brush more!
Need some pointers and a few tips? As a family dentist in Armadale, we work with kids of all ages – here are a couple of tips that we’ve seen bear fruit time and time again…
1) Set a good example
Children live by example. Anything they see, they usually copy.
As such, it’s important that parents set a good example for their kids. You’ll need to lead by example when it comes to brushing and flossing.
You’d be surprised how much kids pick up from watching you – the Bobo doll experiment is a famous example of this.
2) Get everyone involved
Mum, Dad, siblings… everyone should get involved when it comes to brushing!
One good idea is to brush together in the morning. Your kids will observe how you make it a habit to brush, and will follow.
Not to mention, they’ll also pick up on good brushing technique.
And finally, younger kids simply don’t have the fine motor skills needed to brush on their own, so you’ll have to be there to assist anyway!
3) Be encouraging and positive
Brushing one’s teeth should always be a positive experience – why would your child make a habit of something that’s frustrating, or boring?
We know that sometimes kids simply don’t want to brush – when this happens, we strongly recommend using positive reinforcement.
Essentially, reward brushing, rather than chastising them for not.
According to psychologists, this approach is far more effective than punishment at motivating children.
In particular, offer praise, clap, and even offer prizes (no sugary sweets, though!)
Don’t give up either, even if you find that a change doesn’t happen immediately. Remember, routines and habits are formed over time and through consistency, so keep at it!
4) Let them do the brushing
Children will always reach a point where they want to do things independently. Why not use this to encourage them to brush?
If you’ve been helping your child brush (and you should), we suggest building up brushing on their own as a “big kid” thing, and how “smart or clever kids” can brush their own teeth.
It’s a small thing, but it can work wonders!
Just remember that most children don’t develop their fine motor skills until around the age of 7, so don’t start doing this too early.
5) Get creative
Being a creative parent or guardian is not only limited during play and learning time – creativity also goes to brushing their teeth!
You can use dance and even play music in the background while you brush, or do a role play where you can incorporate stories related to their tooth brushing.
You can even “gamify” the experience, tallying up points for remembering to brush and for getting both sides, and offering a prize once a certain number of points are reached.
6) Schedule regular trips to your family dentist
Parents aren’t the only people involved in ensuring children remember to practice good oral hygiene habits – you can’t forget your dentist!
Naturally, your family dentist plays a huge role in how your child views oral care. If they have a bad experience, this will carry over to the rest of their oral hygiene too, which needless to say isn’t an ideal outcome.
We also recommend starting as early as possible, allowing your child to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of their local dental clinic.
At Dental Care Group, our dental professionals work with all members of the family, including the very youngest. We provide child-friendly dentistry that lets your kids feel totally comfortable and at home.
The biggest tip of all: start early!
Teach good habits early
Like many things, brushing your teeth is easy once you make a habit of it.
And that’s why starting early is so important!
Our family dentist in Armadale recommends brushing your child’s teeth the moment they start erupting.
We also recommend using a brush with soft bristles, and avoiding toothpaste altogether (as this can lead to its own issues if used too early).
Most importantly, be gentle – you don’t want your child to start associating brushing their teeth with pain this early on!
Over time, gradually expand their dental hygiene routine to include flossing around kinder, and graduate to a brush with tougher bristles.
And finally, once their fine motor skills are developed enough (usually around 7 years old), you can stop helping them and letting them brush on their own – if you’ve done a good job establishing this routine, they’ll stick to it without reminders!
Introduce kids to your dentist early…
…and teach them that a dental appointment is nothing to be fearful of!
Come along and visit our light-filled, clean, and modern family dental clinic. Our wonderful staff are great at making little ones feel comfortable and welcome.
We believe that early introduction can have a massive effect on a child’s perception of the dentist, that follows them into adulthood.
Looking for a family dentist in Armadale?
Visit Dental Care Group today!
Practising early and consistent oral care to kids is an important milestone – not only that, but it’s the key to getting your kids to brush more often.
It’s important that your kids develop good oral care habits while they are young – what’s more, it’s also important that you get into the habit of taking them to the dentist while they’re still young too!
Dental Care Group is a dentist in Armadale that specialises in family-friendly dentistry.
We help patients of all ages, from seniors to the tiniest of tots whose teeth are only just erupting.
Our dental professionals are friendly, approachable, and absolutely adore kids. You can trust us to help set your child on the right path – namely, the one that features healthy, shiny teeth!