It would certainly be nice if your kids were enthusiastic about the latest in pediatric dental care, and were on board with you helping them develop solid oral hygiene practices and habits. But the truth is, kids tend to resist it as much as they can, and its up to the parents to try to make sure the dental hygienist isn’t disappointed the next time you go to see the pediatric dentist.
Indeed, kids oral health is actually a much bigger problem than you might have realized. About one in every four kids has never been to the dentist before they set foot in their kindergarten classroom, and more than a third of U.S. schools find it necessary to refer kids to treatment for dental problems. A combination of bad oral health practices and junk food are wreaking havoc on the teeth of American children. Here are a couple of suggestions for how to make oral health more exciting for your child, and instill in them a lifelong appreciation for maintaining their dental hygiene.
- Make it about family time. If the whole family brushes and flosses together at the same time everyday, it will become a ritual to look forward to instead of a chore. Indeed, making it a game to see who has the least cavities come the visit to the dentist lends an air of fun and competition to the practice good dental hygiene.
- Use Incentives and rewards. If you child knows that they will be allowed more time to play if they practice quality dental care, they will be much more likely to do it. Keep track of good progress with gold stars and a chart.
- Get personalized dental supplies for your child to make them feel like they have their own agency over their mouth. Buying a Frozen toothpaste and kiddie floss never did anyone any harm, and will get your kid very excited about their teeth.
Keep in mind that things like rough play and sports can result in teeth related problems for kids — as many as 39% of dental injuries occur while kids are playing sports. Accidents do happen and 80% of all dental injuries occur occur to one of a child’s two front teeth. Practice serious helmet saftey, keep up on the latest in pediatric dental care, and impart your wisdom on your children!