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Posted:
03/23/10

Tips: Helping Utah Children Enjoy Brushing and Flossing

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When it’s time for your child to brush her teeth, do you get hit with: “But I don’t wanna!” Relax- you’re definitely not alone. Helping a child learn to brush and floss properly as well as care about her oral hygiene is a challenge for the best of parents: but it’s a skill that will serve her well for a lifetime. Here are just a few tips that will make brushing and flossing time a positive experience for all.

–Having anyone do things in her mouth can be disconcerting to a little one: with a younger child, ease her anxiety by playing her favorite music or singing her a silly song while you take care of her teeth. End the routine with a high five and a hug.

–Recognize that brushing and flossing is physically difficult for kids until they reach a certain age: As a parent, do not expect your child to be an oral hygiene wiz too early; it may turn her off completely and make this daily routine a negative one right from the start. The manual dexterity required for “doing it right” doesn’t come till about age six. So until then, plan on brushing and flossing her teeth yourself.

–Make it a happy time: Help her to see that this twice-daily routine is a positive one. If she is old enough to brush and floss on her own, avoid harsh criticism of her technique and gently guide her in the right direction.

–Let her be in control as much as possible: Children love to feel as if they are in charge whenever they can. Take her to the store and let her pick out her own soft-bristled toothbrush. Let her experiment with different types and flavors of floss until she finds one she really likes; and if she is dying for that pink bubble gum toothpaste instead of a minty one: why not?

–Teach her how to do it right then let her “show you” how to brush and floss your own teeth: Kids love to show off what they’ve learned. Once she’s got her routine down pat, let her “play dentist” and “teach” you how to take care of your own teeth.

–Take her to a fun, child-centered Utah Children’s dentist office like Burg Children’s Dentist where she can learn the importance of dental care in a positive environment.

The more positive you can make her brushing and flossing routine from day one, the more likely she is to practice good oral hygiene habits for the rest of her life.

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