The leading chronic childhood disease is tooth decay. Most parents do not even realize this, as they are more worried about their child getting colds, the flu, and other types of childhood illnesses. Another reason why this is the number one disease is because getting children to brush and floss their teeth correctly can be challenging.
There are also some parents, who are lax with brushing and flossing since their child still has their baby teeth and believe it is not as big of a deal to worry about until they start getting their permanent teeth. Brushing and flossing should occur at an early age to help children get into this routine. Teeth should be brushed twice a day for at least two minutes. Flossing should be done in the evening to remove plaque from in between the teeth.
To encourage your children to brush and floss start with a story about germs. Germs are found everywhere, on our shoes, our hands, the surfaces we touch, and so on. There are even germs inside our mouths that love to live there, are hard to get rid of, and help create plaque on the teeth. Plaque is the clear sticky substance you can feel on your teeth which contains bacteria that will eat through the tooth and create a cavity.
With children, you can expand on this basic story concept, such as mentioning the bacteria in plaque acts like acid as it eats away the tooth. You could even come up with special names for the bacteria and germs in their mouth. Just remember to not go too overboard as you want your kids to brush and floss, not get scared.
End the story by telling your child that the germs and tooth decay they cause can be destroyed by brushing and flossing their teeth, which should get them interested. You will also need to get a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits their hands. There are numerous styles and even some with super heroes, princesses, and other cartoon characters. Let them pick out their own toothbrush.
Next, select a fluoride toothpaste that helps fight germs and plaque. There are many different types of kid-friendly flavours available, such as strawberry, watermelon, and bubble gum. Again, let your child select the toothpaste flavour, since it will help to get them brushing.
For flossing, it can be difficult for your child to maneuver string floss in between their teeth on their own. You may have to assist your child with their flossing. You could also use pre-threaded flossers to make it easier for you and eventually your child, to be able to floss on their own.
When brushing, set a timer and turn on your child’s favourite song or tell them a story to make the two minute brushing time seem to go by faster. Most importantly, remember to schedule regular visits for your child with a family dentist every six months, like here at Arborg Family Dental. For more child brushing and flossing tips or to schedule an appointment, please feel free to call our dental office at (204) 376-2624 today!