Getting your kids to listen to you can be quite a challenge.
If you have younger children, you know what I’m talking about. At that age they’re starting to get their own ideas about everything under the sun – and they certainly won’t hesitate to let you know about them!
Discipline can be a tricky concept to teach them, especially when it comes to the things that are good for them. Eating their green vegetables, for example. Or sitting still at the restaurant.
One thing your children have to sit still for is a trip to the dentist.
My practice, Orthodontic Alliances, specializes in family dentistry – which means me specialize in making children of all ages comfortable when it comes to fixing problems with their smiles. Even if this is their first visit to a dentist, we know how to put children at ease to get them the care they need without frightening them.
I’ve improved the smiles of hundreds of children over the years, so I’ve learned a thing or two about how to approach giving families of all sizes and shapes the comfortable, gentle treatment they need.
Yet in order for me to do this, I need you to start pulling your weight.
In order to get your child the orthodontic care they need at a young age, I’ve learned that it helps tremendously if they already have a good foundation of oral hygiene.
That foundation is built inside the home, and you’re the one laying most of the bricks.
By getting your child accustomed to taking care of their teeth in the comfort of their home, and at their own pace, they will be more accepting of professional treatment. Naturally, providing them with positive experiences while they’re young will pave the way for proper oral health as adults.
Tips For Good Dental Health at Home
Form the time they’re born, it seems that kids want to be independent. As soon as they learn to speak, they’re testing the world to see how it reacts to them. It’s amazing to watch, but it can be frustrating when they give voice to their own ideas about what they will or won’t do.
Your goal, then, is to make sure that they associate brushing (and eventually flossing) with positive experiences.
This is where you as a parent have total control. By creating an environment where your family treats brushing as a fun activity, you’re reducing the chances that they will try to resist professional efforts to fix any problems with their smile.
Children that don’t have that bedrock of good oral health at home can be difficult to treat, which only causes frustration and, ultimately, the potential that they develop serious conditions with their smile.
If a child isn’t taught the discipline it takes to brush and floss every day, then you can imagine how difficult it will be for them to maintain a pair of braces.
In honor of Children’s Dental Health month, I want to share a list of things that you can do at home with your family to impart habits that will promote lasting oral health for a lifetime, so let’s get started!
- Pick your brushes together – The trip to purchase a toothbrush for your child can hold wonder and excitement if you let it. Allow your child to select a brush that most appeals to them to make them comfortable with using the brush. Fortunately these days, there is no shortage of themed brushes, so they probably can pick one that features their favorite superhero or cartoon character!
- Set up regular brushing time – You can help build structure for your children by designating times throughout the day for brushing. This will reinforce the activity so that it becomes a habit. Your child will be more susceptible to professional treatment if they understand that there is a time of the day that is “teeth time.”
- Lead by example – Children learn best not by anything they’re taught, but rather, by what they observe. How you brush your teeth is exactly how you’ll teach your children to brush whether you know it or not. So one of the ways you can pull your weight is making sure to maintain your own oral health. If you can make proper dental hygiene important you, you can increase the likelihood that your family will make it important to them.
- Schedule solo-brushing sessions – Once your child seems like they are taking to it, you can reinforce their sense of independence by allowing them to brush their teeth on their own. Growing children can respond tremendously well to this strategy, as they will be proud of the independence they’re developing. Check in on them from time to time to make sure everything’s going OK, and you’ll be teaching your little brusher “grownup” responsibilities.
- Make brushing fun – None of these tips can work for a child if they’re not engaged in the process. By making a game out of brushing, or allowing them to select an electronic brush that makes lights and sounds, you can capture your child’s attention where it matters. You can also try turning the toothbrush into a kind of toy itself, using it to brush the teeth of their favorite stuffed animal. The idea is to associate fun with brushing, but be careful, because you might even have some fun in the process, too!
If you can start your family on this path, then you will have saved yourself plenty of headaches by the time of their first orthodontist appointment.
Once you’ve mastered these steps, then the next best thing you can do for the health of your family’s smile is schedule an appointment with my office. The earlier a child receives orthodontic treatment, the greater and longer-lasting the benefits will be, saving you time and money.