Kids Brushing, Tips and Tricks to Win Over Any Kid

Kids Brushing, Tips and Tricks to Win Over Any Kid

Kids brushing, get your compliance winners

Anyone with kids of any age knows that strategies to encourage proper brushing are vital. Starting at an early age parents work to evoke life long hygiene habits for their kids. Teeth brushing is no exception.

Children are not alone in the practice to be good tooth brushers. Even as the “responsible adult” we need a “carrot” to prevail in our endeavors at the end of a long day. Remembering that time spent developing good habits will reap rewards for both you and the child.

Songs, games, charts, rewards, fun timers, even apps for tablets and phones come into play when teaching good habits. Many good examples exist on the internet. A quick search will bring a plethora of choices to your finger tips. Switching these and fine tuning them as needed to get the desired result may be a solution to waining interest.

Perfect Habits, Perfect Brushing, Perfect Smiles

Teaching kids, when they are young to develop good brushing habits is time well invested. Removing the biofilm–daily–on teeth and oral surfaces. Doing so leads to a lifetime of benefits, dental health being at the top of that list.

Forming positive habits can be a very natural, easy process with young children. Starting from the time they are infants, small children want to emulate their parents and those around them, therefore make brushing a family social event. Mom’s and dad’s who brush with their little ones around are sending a positive message that brushing is fun and easy.

Self Esteem Years Down the Road

Studies show people form an opinion about who you are in a matter of minutes. One of the key factors in that judgment happens to be your smile.  What a valuable gift to help teach your children a lifelong, healthy habit that will continue to benefit them in a multitude of ways. Daily brushing ultimately reduces the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and improves long term overall health . It will, in turn ultimately reduce long-range cost associated with dental care. Plus healthy, clean teeth just look really great!

Copy-Cats

Mother and daughter baby girl brushing their teeth together

Mother and daughter baby girl brushing their teeth together

For infants and children under two or three, simply let them mirror your behavior while brushing by providing an infant type of soft and safe toothbrushthere are numerous options–no toothpaste is required but if you do use one make sure to use one with no fluoride that is safe for infants and children.

Incentives

Children between three and four who are still working on good brushing habits still benefit from seeing you carry out your daily brushing but they are also easily influenced with a little incentivizing. Consider an extra story at night when they brush on their own. Even simple sticker charts for a week to five days in a row with a small prize at the end. Some ideas that might work in your family could be a sticker collection to add to, matchbox cars, hair ties or clips, special socks with favorite cartoon character, coloring pages or books, small puzzles, even a picking out a balloon when age appropriate and supervision are possible, maybe three minutes of screen time per brush works for your family. Find what works and fits into your family’s routine and natural routines.

Mother And Daughter Putting Star On Reward Chart

Mother And Daughter Putting Star On Reward Chart

Children bigger and older start having more dexterity and can do most of their brushing unassisted while younger kids may need you to follow behind them.  Older kids can also be taught to run their tongue on the surface of teeth to check for spots they missed. Clean teeth should feel slick and smooth with no rough areas.  By kindergarten children can be well on their way to initiating brushing all on their own. Keeping a brushing chart can help with stickers or a pen to add stars or checks when kids complete their morning and nighttime brushing. Though incentives can be helpful, by this age kids are also able to grasp concepts about their health and getting rid of germs that make cavities. Incentives, if needed, may only need implementing for good check-ups.

Keep a Running List of Ideas

These are just ideas intended to help increase brushing compliance in the entire household. Perhaps you will find that it’s helpful to change things up and stay creative. Perhaps you’ve found something useful here or you’re inspired or re-inspired with another tactic to help get brushing to be your kids new favorite habit. It’s worth the effort and the dividend will payout over an entire lifetime.

Twice yearly check-ups go hand in hand with perfect brushing habits and will help keep everyone in the family on track and ready to address problem areas often before decay encroaches. Give us a call today for questions or appointments.

Reach us at:   Marilyn K. Jones DDS      *      Houston’s Biological Dentist *      Address: 800 Bering Dr. Suite 204    *    Phone: (713)785-7767     *     Email: mjones@hal-pc.org

 

 

Children; First Dentist Visits

Children; First Dentist Visits

The First Year

By twelve months old your child can have as few as one or two teeth or as many as twelve teeth. In the time between two and three years of age kids get their full set of baby teeth with molars appearing last and the front middle teeth usually emerging first. Often the exact moment a child’s first dental visit is recommended can seem arbitrary. Some recommendations call for a dental visit at age one and some recommend as soon as teeth first appear. With such a wide range it may be hard to decide how urgent that first dental check up should be.

First Impressions and a Positive Experience

A good rule of thumb is to start regular check-ups with the dentist after the first tooth has erupted, or by the age of one at the latest. Very young children become accustomed to visiting various places and can quickly build a positive impression of the dentist office when they have several quick, easy and positive visits. Learning to sit in the dental chair, open up and say, “ah” and having fingers and tools in their mouth can seem strange for a little one. A small child with a few positive past experiences will be much more inclined to trust the dentist if and when a bigger issue should arise.

Quick and Invaluable

A first visit to the dentist can be a very brief visit or last up to thirty minutes. The dentist will check bite alignment, teeth, and soft tissues. Since decay can start as soon as teeth erupt, the dentist will also thoroughly check teeth for signs of decay, and go over at home care with you and your child, and if indicated they may perform a gentle cleaning to remove plaque, tartar, any stains and quickly polish teeth.

Questions and History

If you have any questions or concerns there will be time to discuss these things as well. Questions you have may range from fluoride use, number of times and length of time to brush, appropriate tooth brushes, or discussing previous bumps and tumbles that may leave teeth chipped or injured, mentioning those events can help your dentist evaluate potential future issues.

Best Times To Set Up Appointments

Earlier in the day many children will have a much higher tolerance for new experiences and new people. A goodnights rest, and a nice breakfast will set the stage for successful dental visit and exam. Bringing a favorite toy, book, or blanket can also be helpful in building confidence while visiting a new place like the dentist office.
Finally

First time dental check-ups are ice-breakers. They set young children up for positive experiences when visiting the dentist in the future. Being extra patient and calm go a long way in sending the message that there is nothing to be worried about or afraid of. Talk to your little one in the days leading up to your appointment. Telling small children how dentists help keep our teeth healthy and strong also relays a comforting, reassuring message.

If your child is already older than one and has not yet been to a dentist or more than six months have passed, this is a good review, now is the perfect time to get that appointment booked.