Teaching your kids about dental hygiene and hygiene in general can be pretty a challenging task. Sometimes, it’s even hard to get them to do it with you or when you tell them to, let alone make brushing teeth a habit. Given the fact that brushing teeth comes either all the dinner preparation, then a battle on why it’s better to eat broccoli than chips or before you’ve even had your coffee in the morning, it is understandable why it’s really hard on parents sometimes.
But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. Kids will only look at it as a chore if you make it feel like one. Kids don’t understand why it is important to brush your teeth – cavities and caries don’t mean a thing to a child. All kids want to do is have fun, they don’t want to worry about their teeth. For all they know, teeth are just something in their mouths that helps them eat candy.
So, how do you make teeth brushing fun like playing with toys or eating candy? Well, since you cannot brush their teeth with chocolate, you might want to try and incorporate some toys into the learning process. There are a few toys on the market that can help you out a lot when it comes to creating teeth brushing a habit. Today, we’re going to talk about that and a few more things you can do to help your child develop a healthy habit of brushing their teeth regularly.
1. Get a Crocodile Dentist
You’ve seen this toy many times and for a good reason. First of all, it is a fun toy, even adults play it with it sometimes, albeit with a twist, but nevertheless, they do. How does this work? Well, a toy is a simple crocodile head, with a wide-open mouth and several teeth. Then you go on and press a crocodile’s tooth and if that tooth is achy your finger goes breaky. We’re kidding, of course, it’s safe to play with this toy. What happens is, if you press on a ‘bad’ tooth, the crocodile mouth closes and you’re out of the game. You can use this as an example to start a conversation about teeth health and how teeth can hurt and become sensitive if they’re not properly washed and taken care of.
2. Use chatter teeth
These are a fun way to show them how to brush. After they’ve finished with biting everything that moves with their new toy, you can give them a toothbrush (or a giant one, but more on that later) and show them how to brush the teeth. You can even put something on the teeth, like butter or chocolate to demonstrate actual cleaning. Just make sure it’s something safe because unless it’s a toothbrush, kids will put anything in their mouths.
3. Get a giant toothbrush
Naturally, they won’t use this one to brush their teeth, however, they can brush other stuff with it. The purpose of the giant brush is to get them familiar with brushing and get allow them to see can a brush removes dirt. Also, it’s a fun toy to have, when they stop brushing they can play the drums with it and annoy you a little bit, but hey, at least they’ll start brushing their teeth without you reminding them to.
Now, toys can only get you so far, you have to do other things as well. You don’t want your child’s teeth cracking and falling out prematurely.
4. Start early as possible
Many dentists, such as positivedentalhealth.com.au, encourage parents to start teaching their kids as early as possible. You can start before the teeth even grow. Obviously, that is certainly not going to be a verbal lesson on the importance of dental hygiene, but you can give your toddler something to put in their mouth just to feel comfortable with it. When they become a little older and the teeth grow out, start with soft brushes and use their hand to brush, it’ll get them familiar with the brush strokes.
5. Talk to them
Like we’ve said, use something like a toy to strike a conversation about dental hygiene and health. Naturally, you’ll have to be as simple as possible, talking about teeth filling might not mean a lot to them, so chose your words. Explain to them what can happen to a tooth if you don’t take care of it, just don’t make it too scary, just enough for them to understand that there could be consequences.
6. Show them what could happen
This is another example of how can a toy be of help. Find a toy that has visible teeth, smiling one should be enough or something like a chatter mouth we’ve mentioned. If possible take a tooth out or paint it black and explain to your kid why that’s not good. You can even find pictures and color in some teeth. Kids will find it funny and definitely will not want their teeth to like that once they see it for themselves.
7. Lead by example
Kids often mimic us. They’ll catch on to some phrases you’re repeating and start saying them, they’ll see what you do and want to do that with you. This is your chance to present dental hygiene as something really fun, aside from being healthy. You can play games with your kids while you brush. Who can brush the longest, which one of you can make more bubbles, who can make the silliest face while brushing – anything, just get creative. You can even demonstrate teeth whitening by smearing your teeth with chocolate and then washing it. The possibilities are honestly endless.
8. Allow them to choose their toothbrush
Picking out a toothbrush is an important part of the process, even more than you might believe. Take your kid with you when you go shopping and have them pick out a toothbrush they like. There are some awesome, colorful toothbrushes for kids out there. If you can, you should get them a battery-powered one. It’ll help them clean their teeth better and the vibrations and spinning of the brush will be fun for them.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some useful tips on how to make your kid want to brush their teeth.