As a parent, you understand the challenge of keeping your child engaged in basic activities they aren’t as interested in, like schoolwork, chores, and other things that get in the way of what they want to do. The same is certainly true of helping them build healthy dental habits, like brushing and flossing, which is important for them to carry into their adulthood. Dental problems are common in children, and getting them to care about their teeth is important for their overall health.
So, how do you get your kids to be more engaged in their dental health? What methods can you use to get them to have fun while brushing and flossing? Let’s explore these questions by examining why dental care is important for kids, the common problems they face, and what you can do to help them enjoy the process more. If you live in Sacramento, California, and your kids are struggling with dental problems, Dr. Peter Kim and his medical staff at Sierra Oaks Dental can help.
It’s important to understand that your child’s teeth (20 primary, or baby teeth) are in a constant state of development until their adult teeth (32 permanent teeth) set in. By age three, all your child’s primary teeth should be present and by the time they reach 12, their teeth will consist of both primary and permanent types.
Keeping your child’s teeth in good health affects the structure of their face as they grow, helps to develop proper speech, aids in good nutrition, and gives the permanent teeth a good head start as they start growing in. And helping them get into a daily routine of dental care will help their teeth throughout their lives.
There are a few types of dental problems children often face, based on diet and lifestyle habits. Eating lots of sugary foods for example is a common reason for dental caries (tooth decay) and not brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis can make those problems worse. In babies, baby bottle tooth decay is the result of having too much sweets in juices, formulas, and other drinks.
If these things happen with your primary teeth, they can affect the development of your permanent teeth. Habits like thumbsucking, lip sucking, and tongue thrusting can also affect the formation of teeth in younger children, causing them to develop malocclusions like overbite, and affect how your child speaks.
Children are not likely to find dental hygiene particularly exciting, so finding ways to spice up the experience is key to letting them have fun with it. Here are some suggestions:
Kids love to be active, and singing and dancing in an activity like brushing and flossing can definitely help to keep them engaged. You can even work in a story that involves characters they enjoy to make things fun for them.
This will be especially handy when they’re very young, but spending brushing and flossing time with your child will let you see if they’re doing it right, and reinforce the habit of doing this when you’re not around because they see you doing it. This will also let you find ways to keep things amusing for them while practicing healthy dental hygiene.
To make sure they take care of their teeth twice a day, you can create a reward system where you track how often they do it, and give them a prize or something they want for doing it.
Lastly, having a dentist that knows how to manage toddlers and kids is essential to make sure they’ll want to come back and want to maintain good dental health. If they’re scared or intimidated, they are far less likely to engage.
Making dental hygiene more fun can keep them taking care of their teeth long after they’ve grown out of the need to be amused by the experience. If you have any concerns or questions about dental hygiene for your children, make an appointment with Dr. Kim and Sierra Oaks Dental today.