Kids love to live in the moment, so how do we, as parents, get them to understand the long term? Brushing and caring for teeth is a great example, as what you do today has the power to impact your oral health 5, 10, even 20 years in the future. Teaching your kids to value their daily routine can be tricky, especially in amongst everything else in their busy lives, like sports, homework and getting to bed on time. What’s a parent to do!
We get the challenge, which is why we’ve created some top tips for nailing that brushing routine, and setting your kids up for long term dental health and happiness.
Okay, it may be a little late if you’re reading this as the parent of a teenager, but we cannot stress this enough: The earlier you establish a habit, the more likely it is to stick. You should start looking after teeth when they first appear at around 6 months, and schedule their first dentist appointment around two. Kids need help brushing their teeth for the first few years, so be sure to be there to ensure they’re getting all their teeth on both sides. When can kids brush their teeth unsupervised? Around the time they can tie their own shoelaces!
You might know only too well what incredible bargainers kids can be when it comes to getting them to do something! Try including morning and night brushing as part of a start and finish routine to the day that includes other important activities like bath and story time. Every time they complete their routine, give them a sticker. A full week of stickers means a treat, like picking the family movie or a special day out. Remember: Treats don’t always have to be food related!
We’re a big fan of the rising trend of ‘sing a long’ toothbrushes. These electric toothbrushes have a button on them which play music to accompany brushing. Once two minutes is up, the music stops and your child knows they’ve finished brushing their teeth properly. Another great technique is simply using your phone to play their favourite tune, and keep them brushing for longer – Don’t forget to remind them to switch sides half way!
Strong minty flavours like regular toothpaste can be a bit overwhelming for kids, and might put them off the activity all together. Most recommended toothpaste brands like Oral B and Colgate have created children’s toothpastes with this in mind that use kid-friendly flavours like bubblegum and berry. They’ll get all the benefits of regular toothpaste, but with the addition of a flavour they actually enjoy.
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