By Chrissy Boothroyd and Chie Li Ee, DMD
Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Helping your child develop a routine of brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day isn’t easy, but there are things you can do to make it a little more fun for everyone. Since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, here are some ideas to make brushing and flossing a little less of a chore.
• Play your kids’ favorite songs and turn brushing time into a dance party twice a day. Pick any song and brush your child’s teeth as it plays for two minutes.
• Read your kids a story or make up one where you child is the superhero that defeats the cavity monster.
• Let your child choose several different fun flavors of toothpaste and flossers and their favorite character brushes.
• Explore the different apps available: You’ll find timers, songs, stories and even apps that will record your child while they brush and then show them where they missed or how to improve their technique.
• Have a reward system. Give them a calendar and let them place a gold star for every time they brush and floss. If they have 2 stars a day for the whole week, reward them with a prize. You could also let them watch their favorite movie or play their favorite game.
• Have them practice on a doll or stuffed animal. Both Playdough and Melissa and Doug™ make play sets where you child can be the dentist. For the truly adventurous, you can have practice brushing your teeth!
• Be a good role model. Let your children see you brushing and flossing every day and going to your routine dental cleanings.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend bringing your child to the dentist as early as one years old for an oral health risk assessment. Regular dental checkups, including fluoride application can help avoid future problems. We know it’s not easy to get your kids excited to go see the dentist but starting good habits at an early age can make those appointments much easier (and less frequent). At Cape May Dental Associates, we see children of all ages. Call us at (609) 884-5335 to set up an appointment with Dr. Ee and ensure your child has a lifetime of excellent oral health and great smiles!