I consider myself an expert in tooth brushing motivation, not just because I’m a dentist, but also because I am a mom. My children are now 14 and 11, and believe it or not, one of them is a sugar monster, he’s so cute, and so everyone loves to give him treats. But he doesn’t get cavities, and so I guess my dental hygiene enforcer personality is pretty motivational. Here are my best tips for keeping your kids teeth beautiful, and supporting lifelong habits of good oral hygiene…
- Setting a timer at 2 minutes is great, (ideal brushing time) but why not make a party of it? Pump up the volume on your child’s favourite songs, make a dance party out of it. Videos and brushing apps such as the one provided by sonicare toothbrush for kids are excellent motivators. Sonicare has bluetooth technology to show areas missed via kid app connected to toothbrush!!! (By the way we have these in the office for purchase if youre interested) Be creative, supervise but don’t make it a punishment. Always think postive reinforcement.
- Check after they’ve brushed, give motivation and rewards for good jobs. Younger kids may enjoy sticker rewards, older kids might just appreciate a hug and a ‘good job, well done’. Either way keep it positive. Remember to let them know, superheros, princesses, favorite athletes all brush their teeth!!!!
- Set a good example, children learn from you. Brush and demonstrate. The family that brushes together, smiles together. Make it a family affair. Don’t forget to floss. Flossing needs to start as soon as teeth are in contact with each other. For younger ones, use the ones that have floss holders with cute plastic animals patterns. As they get older regular floss should be manditory.
- Let the kids go and pick out their toothbrushes from the store. Choosing character toothbrushes might be more fun and interesting . Make sure to always get soft bristles, and dispose of the toothbrush after colds, and as bristles bend. Once a month in my family is about a good timeline.
- Routine, Routine, Routine. There is no sliding on this. I would wake up my kids if they fell asleep in the car ride home from Grandmas. It is a non negotiable. We brush every night. End of story. Thank you very much. Twice a day, every day keeps the dentist, you and mom and dad happy.
Make sure kids are school ready , book appointments for checkups, cleanings and exams before heading back to school. Let them be proud of their smiles as well as their new school outfits and cool shoes.
Enjoy the rest of the summer, hope to see your smiling faces at my office!
Dr. Karen Kassabian