It isn't always easy to get children to follow directions. Whether they're simply not interested or following the jokes and trends from their friends at school, you may have an uphill battle ahead of you as you plan ways to get your kid interested in proper brushing, flossing and rinsing. The key is to think like a child--and hopefully pull on the experiences you had when dealing with your younger days. If you've forgotten or want someone else's approach, consider a few tactics for getting the little ones interested in cleaner teeth.
Taste And Appearance Matters
Children grow up with a lot of social cues about what to like or dislike. They may rely heavily on the opinions of others for what they shouldn't like, or they may be far too honest when it comes to what they already dislike. If the dental products taste or look bad to the kid, good luck making them use it.
The key to getting toothpaste in a child's mouth willingly is to find something that tastes good. Bubblegum flavor, fruit flavors or the favorite taste can be an easy way to lure a child to better cleaning, but you'll need to lay a few ground rules for brushing.
First, toothpaste isn't for swallowing. Adults take that fact for granted, but unless a person--child or not--is explicitly taught not to consume something that tastes great, you can guarantee that the entire tube will be eaten by the end of the week.
There are some child-safe toothpaste types that account for this issue, and a little bit of tough love in the form of a stomach ache may teach the lesson well. Don't use such harsh lessons as a crutch; at least give a child a chance to listen and obey as much as possible beforehand.
Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol. Kids just aren't ready for alcohol-based mouthwashes, and the sting may be a startling pain that could turn the child away from mouthwash for a long time.
Get Them To Notice The Difference
The long-term benefits of brushing and flossing are important, but there are some noticeable short-term benefits that your child can understand immediately. The feeling and taste of plaque may go ignored by a child that doesn't know any better, but pointing out the difference can outline the great parts of dental hygiene.
Many toothpaste and mouthwash brands boast a refreshing feeling, and that isn't an accidental brag. The flavor and cool feeling after brushing can be considered a pleasant feeling, but you'll need to ask the child to think about how their mouth feels before and after brushing.
Contact a dentist, like Discovery Dental, to help with understanding that feeling. Along with helpful pictures and lessons about what causes the 'icky' morning feeling and t he potential future problems, getting kids interested in brushing can become an easy victory.