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Tips for Getting Your Kids to Practice Healthy Oral Hygiene Routines

If your kids are fussy when it comes to brushing and flossing their teeth, you're not alone. Most kids don't quite understand how important practicing healthy oral hygiene routines are and how long-lasting the effects are. Brushing and flossing are key to preventing oral infections, maintaining healthy and clean teeth, and having a bright smile.

Here are some tips for getting your kids to practice healthy oral hygiene routines.

Make it Fun!

For kids, brushing and flossing feels like a chore. Oftentimes, groans accompany hearing mom or dad say "bedtime," and this is because kids think of brushing their teeth, going to the bathroom, changing into pajamas, and going to bed. Kids like to play and entertain themselves long into the night, so bedtime isn't exactly what they like to hear.

To encourage your kids to brush and floss, make it fun! Purchase toothbrushes with their favorite cartoons or characters adorning the handles. Buy colorful toothbrush holders, perhaps one of each child's favorite color. You can also purchase toothpaste in different colors. Let your kids pick these items out so they feel involved in the process.

Some toothbrushes have music built into them so your kids know how long to brush. Another option would be to play your kids' favorite songs. When the music stops, they can stop brushing. You can even have your kids sing a song as they brush so they know when it's time to stop. Dentists recommend positioning a toothbrush at a 45 degree angle when brushing, so be sure to show your children how to hold the brush so each and every tooth is cleaned properly. When it comes to flossing, purchase small flosser picks so it's an easy task for your children to fulfill each day.

Maintain a Routine

Keeping these "fun" aspects in mind, create a routine with your children when it comes to brushing and flossing. Just like your children likely go to sleep and wake up around the same times every day, have them blush and floss at roughly the same times. You can set an alarm on your cell phone that plays a song related to smiling, reminding everyone in the house that it's time to brush their teeth. You can even make it a family routine so your kids can see that mom and dad care about their oral health, too. This will help your kids understand that not only does their oral hygiene matter, but the look of their teeth says a lot as well. After all, the most common reason for braces is aesthetics, with an overbite being a close second. In today's world, importance is placed on healthy-looking teeth.

Provide Rewards for Maintaining Routines

To incentivize healthy oral hygiene routines, it may be a good idea to reward your children when they maintain their brushing and flossing routines. Offer to make your children their favorite breakfast after they flawlessly brush in the morning. Create a board for each day of the week, and if the kids flawlessly brush once in the morning and once at night, they get a sticker. If they get at least 6 stickers in a given week, they get to choose their favorite meal, watch a movie of their choice, or have extra screen time at the end of that week. A reward system will encourage your kids to work together to earn those stickers as well as incentivize them to brush and floss twice a day without a groan.

Taking Care of Braces

If your kids have braces, taking care of their oral hygiene is even more important. Food can easily get stuck in the brackets, and sometimes it's even hard to get food out with floss. The average length of time a person will need to wear braces is about two years. This means that creating and maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine is highly important for individuals with braces.

If you have a child with braces, brushing and flossing are essentially the same, except that performing this routine may need to happen more often. Specifically, brushing and flossing may be essential after each meal if food gets stuck in the brackets. If your kid has braces, make sure they avoid super sugary drinks and foods as well as hard, chewy, and extra sticky foods. These foods may be difficult or painful to eat, and eating and drinking super sugary items can cause sugar to build up underneath the braces if brushing doesn't immediately take place afterward.

As adults, we know that taking care of our teeth and oral hygiene is very important. It's a little more difficult to convince kids of this, though. By getting your kids involved in the process and maintaining a routine within your home, your kids may be more willing to cooperate. Consider incentivizing your kids to brush and floss with a reward system, too. A healthy oral hygiene routine is important and must be prioritized in your home each and every day.


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