Getting children to brush their teeth is a difficult task. Listed below are some clever ways to encourage children to take better care of their teeth:
1. Let children choose their own toothbrushes
Modern toothbrushes can light up and even play music. This can make brushing a little more fun and encourage children to make brushing their teeth more routine.
2. Allow children to decide on the toothpaste
Children are a lot pickier about taste than adults. If children enjoy the taste of their toothpaste, brushing their teeth could become a little less of a hassle.
3. Keep a rewards chart
Keeping a rewards chart can help children and parents keep track of oral hygiene habits. Parents can reward their children for their good practices and also encourage other good habits using this method.
4. Offer educational experiences
There are many books and television programs that reinforce good brushing habits. There are also educational apps that children can play with to learn more about good oral hygiene practices. Children sometimes pay better attention to messages that aren’t passed along solely by the parents.
5. Playing music during routine brushings
Parents can use music to encourage children to brush their teeth. A favorite song could be a great motivator.
6. Challenge children to learn about their teeth
In addition to learn about caring for their teeth, teaching children about different uses for their teeth could encourage them to take better care of them. Some things parents could encourage children to do are:
- Name three things teeth do; this could help children realize that their teeth are useful for more than just eating.
- Pay attention to the sounds that are made when reciting the alphabet.
- Make lists of foods that people can eat with and without using their teeth. One of their favorite foods being hard to chew might just be enough motivation to brush more often.
7. Do educational experiments
Children can also learn about oral hygiene through conducting experiments with them:
- Show children where plaque hides on teeth by having them swish water with red food coloring. They can use a mirror to spot the red-colored plaque. They should brush and swish until they remove all the red from their mouth.
- Show children the effects of decay by putting a one-inch hole in an apple and setting it aside in a paper bag for a few days. Then, parents should cut open the apple to show children how decay can spread through the teeth.
Poor quality or bad tasting toothpastes, lack of motivation, or general boredom with the brushing experience can discourage children from practicing good dental hygiene. These creative ways can help parents encourage their children to brush their teeth, but perhaps the most influential thing parents can do is practice good oral hygiene themselves.