Getting your kids to settle down for the night may be one of the most daunting challenges you have to overcome as a parent. However, establishing a consistent routine, while difficult at the outset, leads to better behavior and healthy habits. As you set up your child’s bedtime regimen, don’t neglect to include preventative dental care.
Model the Necessary Skills
Brushing and flossing are learned activities, and small children cannot accurately accomplish them without a good deal of help. Remember, a child’s oral care begins even before their teeth come in via massaging the gums with a face cloth. As your children get older, they can begin to brush and floss on their own under your supervision. If you need tips on the best techniques for instructing them, ask your family or pediatric dentist. They are experts, and they will be more than happy to show both you and your child.
Making Brushing and Flossing a Priority
The mouth of a sleeping person is much drier than that of someone who is awake. It makes a perfect environment for bacteria reproduction, especially if the last thing your child had in their mouth was something sugary like juice, candy or even cough medicine. Make it a rule that a toothbrush, water and dental floss should be the last things to touch your kids’ mouths before they go to bed. That way, bacteria will have less to feed on, and tooth decay and gum disease can be held in check.
Just because brushing and flossing are important does not mean that you can’t have a good time with your kids as you perform these tasks. Toothpastes are available in kid-friendly flavors that are less spicy than their adult counterparts. Furthermore, you can buy manual and battery-operated toothbrushes with cartoon character motifs that are equipped with timers to make brushing a lot more fun. Come up with games such as toothbrush races in which the winner is the person who brushes for the longest.
Who doesn’t like prizes, and who doesn’t respond well when their efforts are validated? Your kids are no different. You know your little ones better than anybody, so figure out what rewards might appeal to them. For elementary-aged boys and girls, stickers are often very effective. Older kids may be motivated by money. Whatever the case, keep a chart that shows your family’s daily oral care progress. After a prescribed period of time – perhaps a week – of exemplary behavior, give them a reward incentive.
Making bedtime consistent, fun and healthy is one of your most important priorities as a parent. Along with a story and a lullaby, make preventative dental care an equally crucial daily occurrence. By doing so, you will be paving the way to a life of healthy teeth and gums for your kids.