Monday, September 19, 2011

Making Teeth Cleaning Fun for Children



Making Teeth Cleaning Fun for Children
by Richard Keane
Getting your child to brush their teeth can be a dreadful task that causes both the child and parent frustration and stress. However, it is a very important task that should not be avoided because it will teach your child oral habits to keep their mouth healthy later on in life.

The secret in getting your child to brush lies in your approach. You have to make it fun so your child won’t see it as a task but as a game. The best way is to look at the games or activities that your child enjoys and see how you can apply them to brushing.

Associate cleaning teeth with fun

Try letting your children brush your teeth, as children usually enjoy this. Be excited and laugh during brushing so that it appears as something fun to do. Next, let your child brush their own teeth while you watch, and again, show excitement and laugh during the brushing. Lastly, you brush your child's teeth, and afterwards, clap and praise your child. Let them know they did a wonderful job and even reward them so that they associate brushing with good things.
 

You could also include older siblings in the activity, so that your child learns from them and sees brushing as something they enjoy. You could let your child brush a doll's teeth and have your child clap and praise the doll when they are finished.
 

Another tooth brushing game you could play is that mom and dad and/or a sibling go to the bathroom excited and eager to brush. During this game, make sure that you laugh a lot and make lots of noise so it looks like it is something very fun and your child is missing out on this fun game and will then want to join in.

The dreaded dental visit

Another source of fear for children is a visit to the dentist, so it is up to the parent to make sure that it is not a bad experience for your child, but instead something that is fun. If you talk about the dentist, always display excitement and discuss how important dental care is for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums.
 

You could also look at books and videos that are specifically for preparing your child for the dentist. Many books contain popular cartoon characters that tell fun stories about the dentist. They cover what happens during a dental visit so that your child knows exactly what to expect and so that it does not appear to be something scary.

Another effective method is role-playing by pretending to examine a doll's mouth to prepare for the dental visit.
 It is a good idea to ensure that there are distractions during the dental visit. Paediatric dentists usually have TV's for kids to watch so that they don’t pay so much attention to what is actually going on. 

Finally, I cannot stress how important it is that you are enthusiastic and that you praise your child so that they feel they have done something good.

Richard is a freelance writer who enjoys producing content related to health, dentistry and in particular dental braces. Visit him on Twitter at @thefreshhealth.

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