Tips for Building Good Dental Habits for Kids

As a parent, you probably know how hard it can be to get your children to brush their teeth. From the time they get up in the morning and eat breakfast to before bed when they need to brush their teeth the most, it is often like pulling teeth in order to get them to use a toothbrush and toothpaste. There are some tips you can use that will instill healthy dental habits in your kids. Some of them are even fun so that they won’t think about brushing their teeth until the job is done.

Repetition
It usually takes at least 30 days for something to become a habit. In order to make brushing a habit, place a chart on the wall in the child’s bedroom. Make it colorful and fun so that your children will want to look at it instead of thinking it’s something like a chore chart. The chart should have the days of one month so that you or your kids can mark off each day. Use stickers or colored markers to check off the days that the kids brush their teeth. This is the beginning to good dental health for children. As the days go by, your kids will see that it is easy to take a few minutes each day to brush their teeth. If the chart is filled at the end of the month, then consider giving a small reward.

Rewards For Brushing
Although it might sound like bribing your kids to brush their teeth, you can offer small rewards. These shouldn’t be sweet treats like candies or cakes. Get a plastic box and put items like stickers, pencils and small toys in it so that your kids can choose something they like. Another way to offer a reward for brushing teeth is to let them spend the night with a friend or choose a game to play with the family. You can also offer stickers or cards that the kids can collect each time they brush their teeth. This is a good idea for younger children who like to think they are saving something spectacular such as a sports card.

Brush With Your Kids
You need to brush your teeth as well, so why not make brushing a family event. This is not only a way to get everyone’s teeth brushed at the same time, but if you don’t spend a lot of time together because of work and school, then it’s a good way to have everyone in the same area. You can talk while brushing and catch up on the day’s events. This might lead to more family time, so the next time your kids are brushing, why not join them?

Make It Personal
Let your kids choose their own toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. If they get to decide what they are brushing their teeth with, then they are more likely to brush. There are toothbrushes with fun characters on them as well as kits so that kids can design their own brush.

Helping to develop good oral habits for children early on can lead to healthy teeth, gums and smiles for years to come. While never easy to instill new habits, especially healthy ones, with children, I encourage you to find the right approach and hope these recommendations lend you a hand.