Helping your child develop healthy habits is one of the best gifts you can give as a parent. This includes instilling in your kids the importance of a strong oral hygiene routine. Just like eating vegetables or cleaning their room, kids aren’t always enthused about brushing and flossing. Dr. Justin DeGarmo of Elizabethtown Dentistry shares three ways to get your child excited about self-care.
3 Ways to Make Brushing & Flossing Fun
- Let Them Choose Their Supplies
Kids like to be a part of the decision-making process, whether it’s picking a book at the library or choosing their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Kids’ dental product manufacturers know children may need extra incentive to get excited about brushing, so you can easily find items with bright colors, cartoon and movie characters, and fun flavors specifically for little ones. When selecting a toothpaste, be sure to pick a mild, non-minty flavor, such as strawberry or bubblegum, as kids tend to prefer these.
- Make It a Game
It’s no secret kids love to play. By making their oral hygiene routine into a game, they may even look forward to it. Consider setting a timer and having them brush until it’s done, cheering them on as they go. Or, better yet, play a three-minute song they like and have them dance along as they brush. You can find several teeth-brushing songs for kids on YouTube for this purpose. There are also smartphone apps for kids, with timers and music to make brushing more enjoyable.
- Reward Good Habits
Positive reinforcement can work wonders for kids. Dr. Justin DeGarmo recommends designing a weekly tooth-brushing chart. Each day your little one completes their oral healthcare routine, put a sticker on the chart. At the end of the week, let them choose a fun activity to do as a reward for their good work. This might be a bike ride with the family or picnic in the park, or a movie night with their favorite film. Just go easy on the candy!
More on Dr. Justin DeGarmo
Dr. Justin DeGarmo received a B.S. in Health Sciences at Clemson University and a D.M.D. degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Following dental school, Dr. Justin DeGarmo completed a one-year residency in St. Petersburg, FL and earned certification for Advanced Education in General Dentistry through the University of Florida. During his residency, Dr. Justin DeGarmo trained at the Dawson Academy and earned his Fellowship from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Dr. Justin DeGarmo is a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, the Christian Medical and Dental Association, and the North Carolina Dental Association. Justin DeGarmo is a founding member of the Southeastern Prosthodontic Study Club.