Getting kids to care about their oral hygiene is not easy by any stretch of the imagination but thankfully I have been helped massively by the wonderful Dr. Kami Hoss. Kami has been our dentist for many years and we even travel from Los Angeles to San Diego for our appointments. He used to be based in LA before moving to SD but given how great he is with the kids it is a journey that I don’t mind making. San Diego has a great community approach to helping kids which we don’t have in LA, which I have since been introduced to. It can be hard for kids to understand the importance of oral hygiene but thanks to some tips from our dentist, they are beginning to understand, and here is how we did it.
The kids knew that they had to brush their teeth but we’d never really explained to them what the toothbrush was doing when they did. Over the course of a couple of days we taught them about plaque and decay and how beneficial the toothbrush could be, and it seemed to land.
Picking it Out
In the past I always bought the toothbrushes for the kids but this time Kami said that it would be a good idea if the kids picked their own out. This had a far bigger impact than I expected, I guess because kids love to have something that is their own. Since they have been using the toothbrushes which they picked out, the kids have been much more keen to use them.
Dr. Kami said that it would be a good idea if the kids had a solid routine when brushing their teeth and also that doing it together could be a nice thought. With that in mind we started to brush our teeth as a family at 7 in the morning and 7 at night, and the kids really caught on. So much so in fact that I am shouted at on a daily basis at 630, to remind me that I have just 30 minutes before we all go to the bathroom!
One fo the hardest things with the kids was getting them to brush their teeth for long enough, rather than simply wetting the brush, moving it around their mouth for a while and then giving up. We set up an oven timer in bathroom and set it to two minutes, we even said that anyone who finished before that had to do a forfeit. This worked very well indeed and the timer has become a key part of our daily brushing. I think this comes down to the competitive spirit which the kids have, as well as adding a little bit of fun to proceedings.
These tips have worked wonderfully with my kids and hopefully they can have the same affect on yours.