Easy Ways to Get Young Patients to Brush and Floss
- Make it a game – Competition is a strong motivator, especially for little ones. Although the idea of dental decay might not be effective at getting them to brush and floss properly, the prospect of reigning victorious in an ongoing competition with mom and dad might be a little different. Try creating a game surrounding oral hygiene routine to raise interest.
- Try an electric toothbrush – Kids have very little patience for hassle and tedium. Think about it. When they don’t like doing something, it’s usually because the task involves a little work on their part for which they won’t get any direct benefit (chores, cleaning their room, etc.). An electric toothbrush can reduce some of the frustration of manual brushing that kids experience, and it can add a cool factor that makes whole experience more enjoyable. There are plenty of adults that still get a little excited to whip out their electric toothbrush (Hey, don’t judge).
- Explain in their words – Periodontal disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay often don’t make a lot of sense to kids. And for that reason, they become these imperceptible things that mommy and daddy think are important, not exactly top kid priorities. To circumvent this issue, dental professionals can assist parents in explaining the consequences of improper oral hygiene in kid-friendly words. For example, explain that, “cavities make teeth hurt and sad. You wouldn’t want to let that happen to them, would you?”
- Let them pick out paste, floss, and other supplies – Kids get excited about the small stuff. Getting a toy with their kids’ meal, seeing a jumbo jet take off at the airport, and picking out a treat from the store are all experiences that seem small to us but can have a big impact on little minds. Parents can use this to their advantage by letting their kids pick out their own brush, paste, and floss. This lets them get a little excited about the purchase, and consequently the brushing and flossing they’ll do later.
- Have parents brush and floss with them – This last tip might be simple, but it could be one of the most effective of them all. The idea is to link the parent’s routine with the kid’s so that they can witness the parent’s hygiene habits and use them to model their own. Kids are highly impressionable when it comes to parental behaviour. Sometimes simply seeing their mom or dad work to keep their teeth healthy will help them do the same.
There you have it, five ways you can help parents help their children develop a sound dental hygiene routine that will keep their teeth healthy for years to come.