Can We Really Get Kids to Care About Their Healthy Teeth?
Does every day bring fresh oral hygiene battles between you and your kids? Do they drag their feet when asked to brush and floss? Are they less than thrilled about pending dental exams?
You're not alone. Many kids aren't too excited about caring for their teeth. But they won't always stay that way. And with a careful approach, you can help coax your young ones into proper dental care. Getting them to brush, floss, eat healthy, and cooperate at the dentist's isn't an impossibility. And you're not alone in helping them change their attitudes. If you ever have questions about what you can be doing to help your kids build healthy teeth (and enjoy the process), don't hesitate to contact our Elkhart Dental Center team.
Patient Education Makes a Difference - Especially for Kids
You're far more likely to do something when you understand the reasoning behind it. Kids don't always love doing as they're told. So it's important to let them know why they should be brushing than flossing, rather than just commanding it.
Between your own conversations and in-office exams, there are plenty of opportunities to teach your kids about plaque and decay. No matter the teaching method you choose, make sure you approaach the conversation in an open, conversational way. If you posit the problem with plaque as something your kids can actively fight, rather than a fate to which they're doomed, they'll get more interested in doing their part.
Talk about why certain foods (like sweets) lead to the formation of plaque, whereas others (vegetables, dairy) fight the bacteria present in the mouth. If your kids are junk food heads, that can change. While the first steps will be a little rocky, you can alter their eating habits. Take heart: a recent survey of schools adopting healthier lunches found that, while children initially complained, they accepted the healthier diet by the end of the school year. Change your weekly grocery list to include more of the healthy stuff, and fewer sweet treats. There will be initial complaining, but your kids will be thrilled if their next exams proclaim them cavity-free.
Helping Children Make Oral Health a Priority
Brushing and flossing can be much more fun than your kids anticipate. Try doing one of the following to get them better engaged with the cleaning process:
- Family hygiene - You all need to brush and floss - why not do it together? It will probably be tricky to coordinate in the mornings, but at night it's simpler to clean your teeth as a group. This way, you can make sure your kids are cleaning their teeth, check on their techniques and the length of time they brush, and also do a little something extra as a family.
- Brushing and flossing chart - Set up a brushing and flossing chart in the bathroom so that everyone (parents included) can check off their daily cleaning. You can hold each other accountable for great brushing and flossing.
- Cavity-free incentives - Come up with some kind of small treat for a cavity-free kid (besides the knowledge that they don't have fillings in their futures).
- Group dental exams - Schedule your kids' exams alongside your own. This way, they'll see that you care about oral health, and they'll feel more comfortable in the office being with you.
Ready to schedule that next family exam? Get in touch with our Elkhart office. We'll be happy to see you all in the office, and we'll provide some helpful tips and tricks for your kids to get more involved in their oral health.