Is it a battle to get your children to brush their teeth? Do brushing and flossing happen only when you remember to tell them to do it? Do you ever skip it for the sake of some peace and quiet? If you are reading this, you probably have experienced at least one of these three scenarios. It is a part of the learning process parents and their children go through.
Regular tooth-brushing and flossing require guidance, discipline and a nightly commitment. Even keeping your own tooth-brushing routine can sometimes be difficult without someone looking over your shoulder to give that gentle push you need. Luckily for your children, you can provide the discipline and commitment that helps create healthy nighttime habits.
Having an established routine makes it easier for children to predict and accept what is next, thus alleviating some of the added stress of the dreaded nighttime parenting challenges. In a child’s world, predictability equals stability.
First, instill proper oral health care in your very young children by having them brush their teeth before bed. They may not necessarily understand why they are doing it, but you are training your children that this is a “must do” operation, something that is a part of their evening routine. As they grow, they will learn to appreciate the toothbrushing routine as a healthy habit. This small nightly ritual will be a building block toward the lifetime goal of a healthy mouth.
Second, reward your child (and yourself) by reading a book together afterward. Whether your child is reading to you or vice versa, as a parent you are fostering a healthy cognitive activity that will pay dividends throughout your child’s school years. Plus, it reinforces the special bond between you and your child.
Finally, insist on a set bedtime. By doing so, you foster a normal sleep cycle, which helps ensure your child gets enough rest. Sleep is a vital component of a healthy mind and body; without it your child will be groggy and less willing to follow your directions.
Call us for an appointment or let us know at your next visit if you need help establishing a dental-friendly nighttime routine for your child. Dr. Sjostrom can provide guidance and answers to many questions, like when kids are old enough to brush without help, and whether or not your child is ready for a fluoride rinse.