How to Make Your Kids’ Dental Care Routine Fun

When teaching children good manners, family values and of course the basics like personal hygiene — especially dental hygiene — you sometimes have to be creative to keep kids interested. Your little ones will either be super excited to brush and care for their teeth or not very interested at all. The trick to creating a fun dental care routine for your kids is to make them believe that it’s their decision in the first place. (A Jedi Mind Trick you can master with the tips below).

The first lesson parents should to keep in mind:

Your intention doesn’t matter to your children. True, you are willing to invest your time, energy and sanity into instilling good dental hygiene habits to your kids because it’s an important life skill. Having strong, healthy, good-looking teeth will have an impact on their appearance, self-confidence, social relationships and even their access to opportunities in various fields and aspects.

But will your toddler understand if you tell him/her that they must brush her teeth because her self-esteem will suffer later if she doesn’t? Probably not. Will your pre-schooler comprehend the suffering and debilitating pain he might experience from a toothache due to cavities if he doesn’t follow your dental care rules? You know it: The answer is no.

So how do you get them to do what you want? You have to make your kids’ dental care routine fun. Here are some tips from Surfside Kids Dental, Pediatric Dental Specialist, Dr. Jenny McCarthy.

Don’t be the dental dictator.

Bestow upon your children the power of “choice.” Bring them for a shopping adventure for toothbrush and toothpaste. Let them choose the color, style, cartoon character, etc. for their toothbrush. If they love a toothbrush with lights and sounds, try to give in — the point is to choose your battles wisely. With their fancy dental gear that they choose for themselves, brushing their teeth might become an exciting prospect, or even the highlight of their day.  

Gamify teeth cleaning.

Gamification works for entire workforces, customers and global markets. It won’t hurt to utilize this tool for the good of your kids. Make your dental care routine a game, even a competition. Set up a rewards system. Have a contest. Try to make the prizes experience-based, such as a kiss, a dance number from you, or set up a dental care chart with sticker rewards for brushing their teeth until the timer goes off etc.

Use entertainment.

Just to make it clear, we are not saying It’s the parent’s role to “entertain” their kids. It’s good practice to let your child learn how to make themselves busy or just be plain bored from time to time. But you can definitely use entertainment to up your dental care game. Play some fun music during toothbrush time. Sing a song together so it also serves as a timer for how long the actual brushing should take. We like happy birthday two times. Perhaps you can even make up a song-and-dance number to show them the right way to brush to ensure the tongue and hard-to-reach areas are cleaned properly. We know, parents don’t always have the energy for this but as you know, 21 days makes a habit so if you can keep the party going for at least 21 days, they will develop great dental habits without even realizing it.

Make dental visits an expedition to look forward to.

Choose a pediatric dentist whose principles on dental care discipline are similar to yours, so your kids can benefit from the consistency. You may also want to look for a clinic that is far from the traditional serious, uptight dental office and instead offers a warm, welcoming environment for your children. When your kids feel comfortable and are not intimidated by the interactions with their dentist, the staff and the entire experience, you will find it easier to take them along next time. Surfside Kids Dental has offices in Land Park, Sacramento, Elk Grove, and Pleasant Hill CA. Our qualified staff are happy to join you in making your child’s dental experience fun and memorable.

Hang loose,

Dr. Jenny McCarthy

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