In the hectic happenings of everyday life, parents are often looking for ways to squeeze in extra moments here and there to spend time with their kids. They just grow up so fast! But between work, making meals, grocery shopping, etc., it can be hard to find a spot in the schedule for more family time. Here's some good news — you already have an activity in the routine that can be turned into a family activity — toothbrushing time!
Turn Toothbrushing Time Into Family Time
Whether your children are infants or older, practicing your oral hygiene routine together has lots of benefits. If you can manage it, get the whole family together! Or maybe rotate out different members of the family as "brushing buddies" so everyone gets a chance to be together throughout the week. Children look up to the people in their lives, be it parents, caretakers, or siblings, and learn lifelong habits from them. Instead of having brushing their teeth become a time they hate (a feeling that could stick with them!) taking steps to make it a fun family activity could turn it into an enjoyable experience they actually look forward to.
Babies and toddlers love to mimic their parents, so why not let them develop an interest in brushing their teeth while you take care of yours. Give them a soft brush meant for small children to practice and play with and talk them through everything you're doing to take care of your teeth. Then when it's your turn to brush their teeth, you can explain that it's just like yours! Make up a song about brushing and why it's good for your mouth, listen to special toothbrushing tunes that can help kids get more excited about brushing for the full two minutes. And toothbrushing music provides the perfect opportunity for a DANCE PARTY! — two minutes to brush like crazy while busting some moves (just don't dribble any spit.)
After brushing, younger kids will likely need help with flossing, so try using some fun-shaped flossers and enacting a story where the dino-floss is searching the cave for food (or something to that effect.) It's also a good idea to explain why you floss, what it really does and why that's so important. This combination of fun and education will hopefully help the habits stick with kids long-term.
When you make toothbrushing time more than a begrudging trip to the bathroom sink, you have an opportunity to make lasting memories. These could be those silly made up songs or just the closeness shared while you delicately brush each one of your toddler's teeth. More than the individual moments, it will be an entire childhood of memories, of knowing you would be there to help them (whether they liked it or not) make sure they had great oral hygiene and good dental care habits to carry them into adulthood.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.