Establishing a dental care routine for young children can be a real challenge. As a parent you have a hundred things going on (today alone) and sometimes you’re lucky to get the kids out the door with all their shoes on, much less with their teeth brushed and flossed. No judgment here. As dental professionals, we have some tips for some of the most common pitfalls of children’s daily dental habits:
They Don’t Want to Brush
Let’s face it: brushing teeth is one of life’s most mundane but most necessary activities. This fact is not lost on children, but there are ways to make brushing a little more exciting. First, let them pick out their own toothbrush. It may be superhero themed and have sound effects or as simple as can be. Either way, it gives them some ownership over the task. You can also develop a rewards system. A whole week of brushing twice a day means a little more screentime or a family outing for ice cream. A little bribery is ok when dental health is at stake. 😉
They’re Not Brushing Thoroughly Enough
So your kid is picking up the toothbrush and brushing for only 10 seconds? Maybe they seem to be brushing for the full recommended two minutes but your dental hygienist has noted plaque buildup on those hard-to-reach places? Consider setting a fun timer in the bathroom that buzzes after two minutes, playing a two minute long song, or getting a toothbrush like this one that lights up when it’s time to move from the upper teeth to the lower teeth or vice versa. Note: Many adults aren’t brushing for as long as they should, either, so this could be a learning experience for the whole family!
They Find Flossing Difficult
Flossing requires a certain amount of dexterity that some little hands just do not have. Once teeth are close enough together to require floss, make sure that you are flossing for them and modeling good flossing technique yourself. Handheld floss picks are easy to use for older kids.
They Keep Getting Cavities
So you feel like the brushing and flossing have been going well but each trip to the dentist reveals another cavity? Dental sealants are a smart (and recommended) choice for kids between the ages of 5 and 7 as they provide another layer of preventative protection for molars.
They’re Afraid of Going to the Dentist
Odontophobia, or fear of going to the dentist, is one of the most common reasons for missed routine dental appointments. Some scientists say it even runs in the family! That’s why it’s so important that parents make a point to keep their own dentist appointments and treat them as positive experiences rather than necessary evils. It’s also important to find a “kid-friendly” dental office with a team that will do all they can to put your child at ease from the moment they walk in the door.
If you’re searching for an excellent pediatric dentist, look no further than Vacendak Dentistry. We partner with you, the parent, to make dental health a positive priority in your family’s life! Our office is conveniently located in Chesapeake and we accept most insurance plans. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment or contact us online.