As your children get older, they begin to take on more personal grooming responsibilities that you once helped with. One of those responsibilities is caring for their own teeth and gums. Establishing a dental care routine when your child is about ready to start kindergarten can help prepare him or her for independence in school as well as with personal care. Here are some ways you can help your child establish a dental care routine.
Set A Time To Brush
Your child should be brushing and flossing in the morning and before bed. However, mornings can be hectic with everyone in the home trying to get ready for the day at the same time, and little ones can often drift off to sleep before it's time to brush teeth and get into bed. By setting a brushing time and routine every day, you can help your child remember when to tackle this task. A good rule of thumb is to brush immediately after breakfast and dinner. Brushing after breakfast helps with the morning routine, and brushing after dinner can prevent your child from falling asleep before he or she has brushed.
Use A Fun Timer
Children may be tempted to do a quick brush and hurry off to play, but this won't result in thoroughly cleaned teeth and gums. Instead, use a fun timer to let your child know when he or she is done brushing. Some toothbrushes come with built-in lights that let your child know when it's time to stop, but you can also find other options as well. For example, if you have a wireless speaker in your home, you can stream your child's favorite song on it. Have him or her start brushing when the song begins, and then brushing can stop when the song is over. You can also use a kitchen timer with a fun design, such as a dinosaur for this purpose.
Use Kid-Friendly Dental Picks
Using traditional floss can be complicated, particularly for little hands. Instead, purchase kid-friendly dental picks. These picks have a length of floss stretched between two pieces of plastic, which can make it easier for your child to floss his or her own teeth. They also have a pick at the end, which can be used to reach food stuck between teeth. Look for dental picks in bright colors, and stage them next to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Remind your child that this step should be the final part of the tooth-brushing routine every morning and evening.
You can also partner with your child's dentist for additional help creating a dental routine and getting your child excited about having clean teeth and gums.