Surf City Dental knows getting youngsters to brush and floss their teeth consistently is no easy task, but it’s imperative to maintaining a healthy and sparkling smile. For children, a thorough dental routine includes brushing morning and night for at least two minutes each time, flossing daily, and regular dentist visits. Until your little one can brush confidently on their own – typically around age six – you, or another adult, should do it for them to ensure nothing is being missed.

If you’re struggling to get your child to engage in an oral hygiene regimen, try the following tips from Surf City Dental. With consistency, and a swig of patience, your young one will actually look forward to their daily dental routine!

Answer The Age-Old Question: WHY?

Every parent out there knows a child’s favorite question – “But why?” So, when you’re working with your little one on good dental practices, don’t forget to drill this home first.

Explain to your child that brushing and flossing keeps their teeth clean and fights the bacteria that causes cavities. In addition, it’s important to overall health and can help them avoid embarrassing problems like bad breath or plaque build-up.

Seek Outside Help
If you need support getting your message across, many kid’s shows dedicate episodes to the importance of maintaining good oral practices. There are also a plethora of videos and books that demonstrate why sustaining healthy teeth and gums is a big deal.

Got a kid that still needs convincing? Try leaving a note from the tooth fairy, reminding them that she only collects (and pays) for clean teeth!

Teach Technique
Of course, it’s also essential to ensure your kiddo is using proper form when practicing their oral regimen. When they first start, hold the toothbrush with them to show them the right movements and pressure. Once they develop teeth that are close enough together to require flossing, do the same for this practice. It may also help to face one another as you brush and have them mimic your movements.

Let Them Pick The Perfect Dental Tools

Give your child choices when it comes to the equipment they use. A toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character or a flavor of toothpaste they enjoy can make oral hygiene something to look forward to, instead of a chore!

There are plenty of options when searching for kid-friendly dental gear. Before you commit, however, check that the items your child picked out meet these Surf City requirements:

  • Toothbrush is child-sized and has soft bristles
  • Toothpaste contains fluoride to prevent decay
  • Ensure floss sticks don’t have sharp edges and buy waxed floss if your child’s teeth fit together tightly
  • Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal to ensure these items are up to dentist-approved standards

Bring The FUN!

Excellent oral hygiene doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, at Surf City Dental, we think it’s something to be celebrated! Try some of the following ideas to make brushing and flossing an event your child looks forward to.

Crank up the tunes!
Play your kid’s favorite song and have a dance party. Be sure to leave the song on for at least two minutes and challenge your little one to keep brushing – and grooving – until the music stops.

Get the whole family involved.
Children typically want to do what their parents or older siblings are doing. Gathering the entire family when it’s time to brush can make your little one feel included and encourage them to behave like everyone else.

Create a game out of it.
Appeal to your child’s imagination by creating a scenario that will keep them engaged. For example, set them up to be the hero of the story, nabbing pesky “plaque monsters” with their toothbrush. Or encourage them to catch the “dirty puppy” running around inside their mouth.

Tell a story.
As your child goes through their routine, read them a story or make your own up. Again, make sure it lasts at least two minutes, and don’t forget to use your best voices to keep them interested!

Create a reward system.
You know your child better than anyone, so consider what motivates them and incentivize them to brush and floss every day.

For example, you could make a sticker chart, adding a sticker each time they brush their teeth for two minutes in the morning and at night. Once they have a certain number of stickers, they receive a reward! Perhaps they get to pick a game for family night, choose a new book, or take a special trip to the park. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just a little extra encouragement!

Stick To It!

Consistency is key when teaching little ones about oral hygiene. It can be tempting to skip a day that’s been particularly rough or blow it off when your normal routine is out of whack. But keep at it – soon it will become second nature to them!

Tried everything and still have a kid who just won’t brush? There might be something else going on. Talk to them about the reasons they’re avoiding it and schedule an appointment with their Surf City Dentist to discover any underlying issues.

Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for strong teeth and healthy gums. With the right attitude and motivation, your kiddo will be crushing an oral routine in no time. Our Surf City Dental team looks forward to seeing their dazzling grin at their next office visit!