When talking with a San Diego kids dentist, such as Children’s Dentistry of San Diego, a common theme that parents bring up is the fact that they are tired of battling their kids every time the child needs to brush their teeth. Young children often test the boundaries to gain a sense of control in their experiences, and tooth brushing is one of the areas where they will often fight their parents. There are several things that you can do to make it easier to encourage your child to brush their teeth:
Set a Routine
Make brushing and flossing a regular part of the daily routine. For example, always have the child brush their teeth and then put on their pajamas, and then they will know that brushing is just a standard part of their activities before bedtime.
Give Your Child Options
Because it is often a control battle, you can help your child feel like they are in control by giving them choices. These choices should be inconsequential to the dental health of your child, but they allow the child to make a decision. As an example, instead of telling your child that they must brush their teeth, try asking them which toothbrush they would like to use to brush with. Having two or three toothbrushes available to choose from is a great way to provide options for them, and it makes them excited because they can select the toothbrush for the day.
Have Fun Dental Tools
Instead of using a boring, simple toothbrush, take your child to the store and let them pick out a toothbrush with fun cartoon characters. Or, you might find a toothbrush that makes noises or an electric toothbrush because the child will enjoy turning it on. While you are at the store, let them select the flavor of toothpaste that they want to use. You also might consider fun flossing aids, such as the sticks with dental floss on the end to make it easy to floss the child’s teeth.
Many San Diego kids dentists suggest that you make it a family event. Have everyone in the family brush their teeth at the same time, and the young child will be able to learn from the examples of their parents and older siblings.
Reward the Child
Children often respond well to sticker charts or other ways to track their progress. Tape the chart on the bathroom mirror, and give them a sticker to put on the chart every time they brush their teeth. Many children get excited about small toys or prizes that they can get earn when the chart is filled.
Children’s Dentistry of San Diego also suggests that you use positive reinforcement to praise your child for their good brushing habits. We would love to help your child learn more about dental health, and we will help to teach them about the proper ways to care for their teeth and gums. Call our office to schedule an appointment for your child: (858) 536-1111