Maintaining a dental care routine can be difficult for many kids. To make oral care part of their daily regimen, make brushing and flossing a more fun experience. Your child will not only have a beautiful smile, but they will also develop a healthy habit that will last a lifetime.

Here are things you can try to make oral care more fun:

Let them choose their toothpaste

Letting your child pick their toothpaste gives them some control over their oral routine, therefore keeping them engaged. Toothpaste comes in fun colours and flavours. If your kids use toothpaste they personally chose, they become more excited to brush.

However, this doesn't mean they're free to use a toothpaste that's full of sugar. Here are a few guidelines to make sure your child uses the right one.

  • Look for the ADA seal. The toothpaste should be recommended by the Australian Dental Association. This ensures the toothpaste has been evaluated for safety by the ADA. Their seal of approval can be found on the box of the tube.
  • Watch out for sodium lauryl sulphates (SLS) - This is found in many personal care products like toothpaste, soap and shampoo. This chemical has been linked to allergies and sensitivities. This can also cause canker sores to flare up.
  • Fluorides - Fluoride is a mineral that helps fight tooth decay. When kids swallow too much fluoride, it can lead to fluorosis. For children who may be too young to spit out toothpaste, consider a fluoride-free toothpaste.
Make them choose their toothbrush

Let them choose their toothbrush when it's time for a change. This gives them something to look forward to every three months. There's an assortment of toothbrushes on the market perfect for children - from animal-shaped ones to familiar cartoon characters. However, function should always come first before the design.

Here are things to consider regarding toothbrushes:

  • Go for softer bristles - Over-aggressive brushing can lead to sensitive teeth and damaged gums. A medium or soft brush can dampen the effects of this habit.
  • Match the brush to the mouth - Pick a toothbrush that allows the bristles to reach around the backside of the furthest molar. The brush should be able to clean the entire surface of the teeth, not missing any spots. Toddlers would require a toothbrush with a small brush head, soft bristles and a handle they can grip easily.
Brush and floss together

Young children like to mimic their parents, so show them the right way to clean their teeth as you brush with them. To make brushing more entertaining, you and your child can do sing-alongs while getting ready.

Stories are also a great way to instil the importance of brushing to children. You can pretend to brush the teeth of your child's favourite stuffed toy, and encourage your child to follow.

Turn brushing into a game

Sometimes, a friendly competition can help turn brushing into a life-long habit. If your child has a sibling, ask both of them to brush together. They can brush to the tune of music that plays for two minutes. The winner is the one who manages to brush their teeth without stopping.

Use reward charts. This way, your children will become more motivated to win. If they have no siblings, they can compete with their cousins. Or they can compete with you.

Now, you know how to make brushing and flossing more enjoyable. If you have questions, you can always come in for a consultation with one of our dentists. We offer general dentistry, children dentistry, and other dental services in our clinic at Ross River Road.

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