No matter how old you are right now, good oral hygiene is important for not only your smile, but also your general health and wellness. It’s important to help your children make good oral care a habit that they can carry with them into their adult years. Below are some helpful hints and tips for implementing oral hygiene into your child’s daily routine.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Yourself
The best way to help your child learn how to care for their teeth is to practice good habits yourself. Very young children are sponges, and they look up to their caregivers. They will gladly mimic your actions, so by being a good role model, you are showing your child how to take care of themselves. Some tips include:
- Brushing your teeth together at the same time every day to help develop a routine;
- Setting a timer for two minutes to ensure that you have brushed thoroughly; and
- Flossing in front of your child and explaining the importance of taking care of your teeth.
Practice on Dolls and Stuffed Animals
Part of teaching your child good oral care habits involves normalizing the act of brushing. A great way to do this is to use a play toothbrush to clean their dolls’ and stuffed animals’ teeth. Set the timer for two minutes and explain to your child why it’s so important to take care of their teeth, and when the timer is up, make a big to-do of how clean and healthy the teddy bear’s or dolly’s smile looks. By making this a daily occurrence and normalizing the act of brushing, it will become second nature to your child.
For the most part, kids aren’t very keen about activities that they deem “boring”, so it’s important that you make brushing fun – especially in your child’s early years. There are countless ways to do this, but some of the best and simplest include:
- Giving them options. Let your child choose his or her toothbrush color or toothpaste flavor, which gives them a sense of autonomy.
- Sing a song for two minutes. Not only does this ensure that your child is brushing thoroughly, but it also creates two minutes of family fun that everyone can enjoy. You can even find playlists on Spotify!
- Give small rewards. Print out a rewards chart to hang on the bathroom wall and give your child a sticker for every day they brush their teeth for the full two minutes. At the end of the week, allow them to choose a small reward for their efforts – a trip to their favorite park, their favorite meal, or even some extra one-on-one time are all great ideas.
Helping your child learn good oral care habits early all boils down to two things: normalizing oral care and teaching them the importance of a healthy smile. The tips above are all excellent, but don’t hesitate to get creative and make your own routines.