Dr. Vivek Cheba: Good Dental Habits for Children

Most parents are familiar with the personal hygiene struggle with children and at the top of the list remains Good Dental Habits for Children with advice by Dr. Vivek Cheba.

Sometimes they do not want to take baths.

Sometimes they do not want to brush their hair.

And sometimes they have absolutely no desire to brush their teeth or dental floss.

Schoolgirl at a dentist - Dr. Vivek Cheba talks about Good Dental Habits for Children

Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also, hygiene habits established during childhood are likely to continue throughout a person’s life.

“I always encourage the parents of my young patients to try to have fun with the process. Make it a special time of connection – minutes from a busy day that are reserved for the creation of healthy habits through fun,”

Calgary orthodontist Dr. Vivek Cheba explains.

“It is important to make brushing and flossing feel like fun rather than a chore. A good approach means  that children will not grow to resent brushing their teeth and will have developed good habits once they hit adolescence and adulthood.”

With a healthy dose of creativity

Yet, how do parents make that happen? With a healthy dose of creativity, said Dr. Vivek Cheba.

Routines are often regarded as boring, particularly by children.

But bedtime coupled with their favorite book or brushing teeth combined with listening to their favorite song can generate positive feelings for needed routines.

“The more second nature brushing becomes, the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes,”

according to Mouth Healthy from the American Dental Association.

 It helps to brush your teeth with your children to help create Good Dental Habits for Children.

Creating that kind of togetherness while teaching them a valuable life lesson can be a beautiful thing.

It can also allow for you to incorporate a lot more fun into the task.

How much time do you need to set aside to teach your kids these skills?

The ADA encourages parents to play their child’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party.

There are also brushing videos or apps that can help the time go by.

Not to mention a two minute story using an assortment of voices.

“Whatever you do, get creative and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time,” according to the Mouth Healthy website.

Two minutes twice a day to help create your child’s teeth for the present and increase the likelihood of healthy habits for a lifetime? Dr. Cheba said that should be an easy decision.

Don’t forget to incentivize good behavior, too.

Making tooth brushing a fun activity coupled with rewarding that good behavior should help make it a lasting habit.

There are a ton of options that can be catered to what your child likes or needs.

Does a high five make your kiddo glow?

Are stickers the key to their motivation?

Would selecting the bedtime story make them feel special and rewarded?

Do they have a favorite character from a show that can “teach” them that brushing their teeth is an amazing habit?

Do a little research and see if there is a book or episode that highlights oral health.

“Kids find incredible motivation from their favorite television and book characters.

Never underestimate them as a tool for creating healthy habits,” added Dr. Vivek Cheba.

If that does not work, then Mouth Healthy suggests an even more creative approach: make up your own character.

“Your child just might be the only superhero who can brush away the bad guys that cause cavities,” according to the website.

Also, the variety of kid-friendly products are in abundance in the toothbrush and toothpaste aisle these days.

Let them choose a toothbrush that is their favorite color or character.

Let them choose between the assortment of flavored children’s toothpastes.

All of this will allow for them to take a sense of ownership in their dental health.

“It really is about facilitating fun for your kids while teaching them these healthy habits,” said Dr. Cheba. “Make it a fun adventure, don’t let it feel like a form of punishment.”

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