Help your kids develop a foundation of healthy dental habits in a fun, engaging way.

Early dental care experiences shape kids’ viewpoints on the importance of dental care at home, as well as their initial opinions of dentists. By taking the time to lay down a foundation that promotes the importance of oral health, your kids will be well on the way to adopting lifelong healthy dental care habits.

Here are some of our favorite tips for parents who want to make dental care a more fun and interesting subject for their kids.

1. Use colorful plaque disclosing tablets to highlight trouble spots.

Plaque disclosing tablets are a great tool for helping kids actually see invisible plaque lurking on their teeth. After chewing one of these small blue or red tablets, any plaque patches on your child’s teeth will be immediately highlighted and easily visible. These tablets can help your child understand how plaque can be sneaky and, after brushing, see how effective brushing really is for keeping their teeth clean.

2. Time brushing sessions with an engaging app on your phone.

The traditional two-minute sand timer is still a well-loved tool for kids, but sometimes mixing things up can really renew their interest in brushing. Take a look in your phone’s app store and look up teeth brushing timers. You’ll find a number of great apps that not only take care of the two-minute timer, but also engage kids with entertaining graphics.

3. Read kids’ books about dental health and dentist visits.

Reading together builds bonds and expands your child’s understanding of their world around them. There are a number of wonderful books available that focus on all aspects of dental health, from taking care of your teeth to visiting the dentist or even a visit from the tooth fairy. Hop on Amazon and see what age-appropriate books you can find for your child.

4. Watch episodes of your kid’s favorite cartoon featuring dental health.

As important as books are for kids, cartoons and kids’ shows do have their place too. Many popular kids’ shows, such as “Caillou”, “Sesame Street”, and “Dora the Explorer”, have episodes dedicated to oral care and visiting the dentist. By seeing their favorite cartoon character learn about dental care or be brave during their dentist visit, your child will be motivated to mimic them.

5. Let your kids pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Many kids are wonderfully independent and enjoy making decisions with their parents’ support. We encourage you to use only ADA-approved oral care products for your children, but suggest you allow them to make some choices within that category. Your child will be more inclined to want to brush and floss if they get to pick their tools and a fun flavor of toothpaste.

6. Create a sticker chart to track your child’s weekly or monthly brushing habits.

Sticker charts are just plain fun for kids of all ages. They are also perfect for tracking healthy habits like brushing and flossing. You and your child can create your own chart together or you can find a printable one online—Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for either route. Incorporating a healthy reward at the end of every week or a big reward at the end of the month is a great incentive for kids that enjoy working for a treat.

7. Play dentist-themed games at home, especially role-playing games.

It’s a fact that if you can turn a task into a game, kids are automatically more involved and interested. Playing dentist-themed games at home is a great way to encourage interest in dental health as well as prepare for an upcoming appointment. You can even find realistic toy versions of dental tools online designed for kids. Take turns playing the dentist and the patient!

8. Play monkey see, monkey do while brushing and flossing.

Kids are masters of mimicry and often pick up parents’ habits without much guidance. Show your kids how important a healthy smile is by brushing together daily. You can make it fun by playing a brushing or flossing version of monkey see, monkey do. See how well your kids can mimic how you brush and floss, then switch it around and have them be the leader.

Complete your child’s dental health routine with an appointment at Ada Smile Place.

Regular dental care appointments are especially important for kids for two big reasons.

Firstly, seeing a dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health. Your family dentist will be able to see any early warning signs of trouble and be able to take action before something like a small cavity becomes a big problem.

Secondly, your child is more likely to develop a trusting relationship with dentists if they see them on a regular basis. Many kids are naturally a bit nervous during dental appointments, but kids who visit their dentist often tend to grow out of this anxiety much quicker and successfully than kids who rarely see their family dentist.

When your child is ready for their next appointment, the Ada Smile Place team is eager to meet them and help them on their journey towards a healthy smile for life. You can book their appointment today by calling our office or filling out this online scheduling form.