Establishing good dental habits early in your child’s life is a great idea. Overall consistent daily dental habits and routine dentist visits can help your child begin life-long oral health, and save them from troublesome cavities and dentist bills.

However, keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy can feel like a full-time job. Between visits to the dentist and twice daily brushing and flossing, kids tend to think of dental hygiene as a real chore. As a parent, you’re constantly trying to find good ways to keep your kids interested in things that are good for them, so how do you keep them interested in keeping their mouths healthy?

Here are four fun ways to help your children engage with keeping their mouths healthy and their smiles beautiful:

Let Them Choose Their Own Toothbrush and Toothpaste

When you’re a kid, it feels as though you’re getting told what to do most of the time – what to eat, where to go, what to wear, even with what toys you should play. Any time your child gets to choose something for themselves, it’s a real treat. Allowing your child to pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste gives them some control over their oral habits and helps engage them.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they get to choose the most expensive brush or the toothpaste that’s full of sugar. If needed, you can select several choices for them to pick from – it’s not the objects, but the perception of choice that makes a difference.

Make Brushing and Flossing a Family Affair

Many parents are always looking for activities that involve the whole family. Now you can make tooth-brushing time family time too. Your children will look to you first in how to act in most things, and dental hygiene is no different.

If you make dental hygiene something that the family does together, it will seem like more of an activity instead of a chore they have to do every day. This allows you to supervise their brushing and flossing habits to ensure your child is brushing properly and it also ensures that you yourself schedule your own dental hygiene every day.

Have a Tooth-Brushing Dance Party

With small teeth come small attention spans. It can be hard for your child to stand in one place for several minutes while they brush their teeth – so boring, Mom! You can add some spice and fun to your child’s oral hygiene routine by adding music. Pick upbeat songs that are two or three minutes long – this way you can have them brush while they dance so you’ll know that they’ve spent enough time brushing and they’ll know when to stop. Choose a few songs that will become your traditional brushing songs and only use them when your child brushes – it helps keep your child’s routine going!

Devise a Gold Star System

Giving your child an incentive to maintain good oral health every day is an excellent way to keep them on track with brushing and flossing. A “Gold Star System’ where they get gold star stickers for doing their whole brushing routine correctly not only helps maintain the habits but also gives them a sense of accomplishment every time they receive a new one. You can even take the system one step further by offering rewards when they earn a certain number of stars: an afternoon at the park, 15 extra minutes on the iPad, or a trip to the movie theater.

Contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry for more tips

We’re committed to keeping our patients healthy and educated, and we make it a priority for them to know how to take care of their teeth properly. For more advice or for your first appointment, contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry by calling 919-967-2773 or request an appointment.