As adults, we know the importance of brushing, flossing, and taking care of our teeth by having regular checkups at the dentist’s office.
But passing this on to your children isn’t instantaneous. It takes a little work and creativity, but if you stay with it, your children will learn to adopt your healthy attitude toward their dental health.
Here a few ways to get your child to take care of their teeth:
1. Have a fun way for them to brush or floss.
This might mean buying a toothbrush in the shape of their favorite cartoon character. Or it may mean teaching them how to use an electric toothbrush. Or it may mean purchasing an innovative product that allows you to use an electric toothbrush and floss in one system.
For help in finding the right toothbrush for you and your family, there are articles and reviews you can discover here, and you can also talk to your dentist.
2. Take your very small children with you into your own dental appointment, if the dentist allows it.
This way, your child will observe how you behave while in a dentist’s chair. This is modeling good behavior, and will help ease your child’s fears for his or her turn in the chair. Allowing the child to ask you questions, and the dentist questions, helps build trust and ease fears.
3. Create an awards system with your child involving dental care.
If you have older children, you can come up with a way of awarding them for taking care of their teeth. For example, for each week they brush and floss without missing a day, you can reward them with a video game or a trip to the mall.
4. Educate them about the consequences of poor dental hygiene.
This is a basic cause-and-effect approach. Sit down with your children at the computer and show them pictures online of what can happen to teeth if they aren’t cared for. This could mean cavities, gingivitis, a pulled tooth, or even surgery. (Yes, scare tactics can work, as long as the facts are true). Remind them that they too can have problems like this unless they take care of their teeth.
5. Set a good example.
This is perhaps the best way to get your kids to take care of their teeth. You are their strongest role model. If they see you brushing and flossing and using a water pik, chances they will too, especially younger ones, who love to emulate their parents’ actions.