Dental health is something you should be thinking about from the moment your infant cuts his first tooth. From baby to toddler to school-age, children need to learn the importance of good oral health. As you have probably learned from being a parent, sitting down and lecturing your child isn’t likely to do much good.
A more effective approach is to turn tooth brushing into a game. Here are some ideas you can use from the time your child is a baby until he’s in grade school.
Even though babies aren’t likely to get cavities, you can encourage good habits by making tooth brushing a familiar activity from a very young age. To help your baby feel comfortable with the warm washcloth you use to scrub his teeth, sing a song while doing it. Try these lyrics to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat:”
Brush, brush, brush your teeth,
Keep them nice and white.
Brush, brush, brush your teeth,
Every day and night.
Stuffed Animal Cheerleader
Bring your child’s favorite stuffed toy to the bathroom to watch your child brush his teeth. Lend your voice to the toy so it can be a cheerleader for your child.
If your child really gives you flack because he’s uncomfortable having a toothbrush in his mouth, have him “brush” his stuffed animal’s teeth first. Make the toy have a positive reaction to help encourage your child.
To facilitate your toddler’s need to do everything himself, take turns brushing each other’s teeth. First, let him “brush” your teeth, and then you brush his.
Let your child choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste featuring a character he loves. Make tooth brushing a game where the character searches your child’s mouth for lost treasure, a princess or the bad guy.
Hang a calendar on the bathroom wall. Each night your child brushes his teeth, let him place a sticker on that day. After a certain number of stickers, reward him with a prize.
Plaque Disclosing Agents
When your child swishes with plaque disclosing mouthwash before brushing, a harmless dye changes the plaque on his teeth to blue or red. This shows him how dirty his teeth really are. The goal is to brush until all the teeth are white again, meaning all the bacteria have been removed. Check when your child is done brushing and either praise him for doing a good job or point out any areas he missed so he can try again.
Brush your teeth at the same time as your school-age child to set a good example. To make it fun, have a competition to see who can brush for the full two minutes without stopping. A stopwatch, egg timer or two-minute hour glass is useful for timing yourselves.
Brush your teeth at the same time as your child. Once you get a good lather going, do something silly for him to copy, such as smiling big and letting the bubbles run down your chin or making a toothpaste mustache. Have fun with it, and don’t worry – it will wash right off.
Tooth Brushing App
“Brush DJ” is available on iOS and Android. It plays two minutes of music for your child to enjoy while brushing his teeth. Another app for iOS is “Star Teeth,” complete with a timer and characters that encourage your child while he brushes.
With these games, getting your child to brush his teeth is much more fun. Make sure you also schedule dentist visits every six months for a healthy smile that lasts into adulthood. Contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008 to set up an appointment for your child.Leave a reply →