We all know the importance of a good dental hygiene routine, but sometimes it can be a challenge to build the habit, even for adults. If you help your child build good dental habits at a young age, it will make it easier to maintain those habits as they grow. Helping your child now will keep their smile bright and healthy for the future. At Park Avenue Dental, we care about kids and their oral health. To help you start building great dental habits for your children, we offer a few tips.
10 Ways to Help Your Child Build Good Dental Habits
1. Start Early
The sooner you can start your child on a good dental routine, the better. By the age of three, toddlers have grown all twenty of their primary teeth and can begin to use fluoride toothpaste. Building a positive experience around dental hygiene at a young age will help to keep your child building those habits as they grow.
2. Lead By Example
Children learn by imitating their parents. Often the best thing you can do to help your child build good dental habits is to have them yourself. Your child will see your commitment to good dental hygiene and want to mimic it. Show your child how you brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. Modeling these behaviors have long-lasting effects on your child.
3. Make It Easy
Help make it easy for your child to build good dental habits by adding a step stool to your bathroom sink and keeping toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste within reach. The less resistance your child has to keep those habits, the easier it will be for them to maintain. If brushing their teeth or flossing feels like a chore, then they will be less likely to stick with it.
4. Make It Fun
Good dental hygiene doesn’t have to be boring! There are plenty of ways to add some fun to the routine. For example, you could find a favorite song to play while your child brushes their teeth. Doing this will add some fun as well as help your child to brush their teeth for the right amount of time. In fact, there is an app that has a fun, tooth-brushing game!
5. Use Child-Friendly Dental Products
Dental products made specifically for children are the best option to start teaching your child good dental habits. These products often feature cartoon characters, bright colors, and fun flavors that make the dental routine something to look forward to. Some toothbrushes even light-up and “talk” to the child to encourage them to brush their teeth for the right amount of time, reinforcing the positive experience.
6. Get Help from Friends & Siblings
If your child sees their friends and siblings taking care of their teeth, they will likely want to join in. Reinforcing the good habits with others will help your child stick with the habits. It will also make it more fun to have everyone join in on building those good habits.
7. Entertain & Educate
Learning these habits doesn’t always have to happen in the bathroom. Whenever you come across a moment where your child can learn something about their dental health, take the time to speak with them. For example, if your child is wondering why they lose their teeth or why too much candy makes their teeth hurt, you can teach them about these dental health principles.
8. Create Goals
Setting goals for your child is a great way to keep them motivated. Seeing their daily progress and getting closer to their goals not only builds good dental habits but good life habits as well. You can create a chart to mark their progress and have them help you to decorate it, so they can feel like they are part of the fun.
9. Give Prizes That Build Good Habits
Creating incentives for your child to build their dental habits keeps them motivated to continue. Be careful not to give them incentives that may damage their teeth, such as candy. Instead, give them incentives to build good habits, such as being able to choose their next toothbrush or toothpaste.
10. Have a Fun Dentist Visit
Going to the dentist can sometimes be a frightening experience for a child, so giving them a positive impression with a dentist right off the bat can help ease your child’s anxiety. Choose a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry and who understands the importance of making a child feel comfortable at the dentist.
At Park Avenue Dental, Dr. Shane and Dr. Cody Goslinga care about kids and make every effort to make your child’s first dental visit a fun and memorable one. Kids can play with crayons and coloring books, take a “ride” in the dentist’s chair, and get a prize at the end for being such a good patient. With their first visit being a positive one, they will look forward to going to the dentist in the future.
Pediatric Dentistry at Park Avenue Dental
If you are in the Gainesville, FL area and need help building good dental habits with your child or your child needs to see a dentist for the first time, we would love to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child, and take the first step to help your child build good dental habits for life!