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As adults, we brush and floss our teeth regularly because we understand the value of good oral health and the consequences of failing to do this. But what about your kids?

Every parent understands that it can be challenging to get your child to brush their teeth as a matter of routine. If this is your current struggle, you’re certainly not alone.

Here are six ways that you can encourage your child’s oral health and regular brushing.

1. Start Them Early.

The American Dental Association reports that tooth decay is the most common chronic early childhood disease in this country. Even if your child still has their baby teeth, it’s essential that they prevent decay through good oral hygiene. Decayed baby teeth can lead to many troubling issues, such as:

  • Damaged permanent teeth
  • Vulnerability to gum disease
  • Poorly articulated speech
  • Malnutrition from chewing difficulty
  • Low self-esteem  

2. Set a Positive Example.

Children learn by example. Whether you like it or not, they’re going to imitate you, so you can teach your little ones to brush their teeth by letting them watch you.

So, make it a group activity. Show your child how to brush correctly by using short circular motions, holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, and brushing your tongue as well as your choppers.

3. Offer an Incentive.

Depending on your child’s age and interests, a reward for good daily oral hygiene might be effective. For example, you can promise young children a bedtime story only if they brush their teeth first. For older children, the reward might be something along the lines of bonus online time or something else they value.

4. Make It a Game.

Similar to creating rewards for brushing their teeth, you can turn the activity into a game. Have your child brush their teeth to a favorite song for two minutes. Or create a fun chart that allows them to keep track of their progress.

5. Give Them Choices.

Children like to be in control, so it might help if you give them a choice. (NOT brushing their teeth won’t be one of the options.) Take them to the local grocery or drug store and allow them to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. 

Some have images of popular characters like SpongeBob Square Pants and Frozen. This can inject some additional excitement into this twice-daily routine.

6. Check for Sensitivity.

If your child is refusing to brush their teeth, they may be experiencing some sensitivity issues. Some children with attention disorders or autism are likely to have sensitivities that can impact oral care. If you suspect this to be the case, you can address this with your dentist for the proper oral hygiene plan.

Being a parent isn’t always easy. Getting advice on child oral health can keep you on track and help establish a lifetime of positive brushing habits.

If you have questions about your child’s oral care, simply give us a call. You can contact us at Old Mt. Pleasant Dentistry for advice or to schedule your next appointment.