Sparking your kids’ interest in dental care early means healthy teeth for life.
Kids who develop healthy oral care habits early on in life tend to carry these same habits through adolescence and adulthood. The trick to helping kids develop an early interest in having healthy teeth? Make dental care fun!
Here are 8 tactics parents can use to help their kids get excited about oral health, healthy teeth, and even look forward to brushing their teeth.
1. Let them pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Kids are instantly more interested in activities where they get to have some control. The same idea applies to getting them interested in activities they might not quite love yet, like brushing. In this case, letting kids pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste is a surefire trick for getting them excited about using their new tools.
Another great trick is to pick up multiples—such as two different new toothbrushes and two new tubes of toothpaste—so kids have some variety in what they’d like to use on a daily basis.
2. Lead by example by showing how you value healthy teeth.
Young kids love to mimic those around them, especially parents and caregivers. When someone they look up to shows an interest in something, kids will soon want to take part in the same activity. Brushing together as a family and verbally expressing how nice it is to brush your teeth can entice even the most stubborn youngster to want to be involved in the fun.
3. Make a colorful sticker chart complete with a reward.
It’s a fact that kids love stickers. Sticker charts are a popular way of motivating kids to complete tasks, show positive behavior, or mark milestones. Many teachers still use these tools in classrooms today with great success. You can do the same thing at home by creating a sticker chart for twice-daily brushing.
Some parents also include an end-of-week reward for a perfect brushing record. This is entirely up to you and what type of reward system is the most motivating for your child.
4. Include dental-themed arts and crafts in their daily routine.
Arts and crafts make up a big part of many youngsters’ days. This creative time makes for a great opportunity to include some dental-themed projects to naturally capture your kids’ interest.
Here are a few fun arts and crafts to try:
- Happy Tooth Paper Craft.
- Loose Tooth Subtraction.
- Toothpaste Sensory Slime.
- Dental Health Coloring Pages.
- Interactive Brushing Activity.
5. Sing a funny song while they brush their teeth.
Add a song to any activity and it’s instantly more fun for kids! There are a few songs out there that are perfect for entertaining kids and making their brushing time fun for everyone.
6. Use positive language when talking about oral health.
Parents know the consequences of not brushing and flossing, but helping kids understand this is difficult. Although it may seem harmless to an adult, telling a child that they need to brush or else their teeth will fall out, their teeth will hurt, or some other negative consequence can be frightening. Use positive language and focus on all of the good things about healthy smiles rather than the bad things about unhealthy smiles.
7. Read books and watch kids’ shows about healthy teeth.
There is a huge selection of wonderful kids’ books available that focus on every aspect of dental health, from what teeth are to losing their first baby tooth. Books are oral health and visiting the dentist are especially helpful for introducing kids to how wonderful it is to care for their smiles.
You can also find books and cartoons featuring your kids’ favorite characters visiting the dentist or talking about brushing their teeth. Sesame Street has an entire online toolkit for kids all about dental care. You’ll also find information for helping parents too!
8. Choose a dental home that your child will love to visit.
The dentist you choose for your child will have a remarkable impact on their future oral health. Having a pediatric dentist that your child enjoys visiting will not only make routine dental appointments fun but will also shape their opinion of dentists as they grow older. They’ll grow to see a dentist as a friend and an important part of their oral health rather than a figure that they feel nervous or anxious about visiting.
Book your child’s first appointment with Dr. Shea today!
If you’re looking for a compassionate, gentle pediatric dentist in Rochester, Dr. Shea and her team are here for you and your kids. Dr. Shea offers dedicated kids’ dental care, including preventive care, restorative treatment, and even kids’ orthodontics!
You can book your child’s first appointment today by calling our office or filling out this quick online form.