Getting my kids to care about their oral hygiene was incredibly difficult and for such a long time they really couldn’t have given 2 hoots about caring for their teeth. I used to have to make them brush their teeth and don’t even get me started on the things that they would eat when I wasn’t looking. All of this changed when we met the brilliant Dr. Kami Hoss, a dentist with a real skill with kids and someone who helped us change their attitudes towards dental health. Dr. Hoss moved from LA to San Diego shortly after we met him, but such was his impact on the kids that we travel from Los Angeles to SD every 6 months for our check ups. He helped me by offering some tips on getting the kids more engaged, and these are the ones that worked best for me and my kids.
Pick a Brush
I had never let the kids choose their own brush before, not because I am a bad parent, just because it never really dawned on me to do it. After the suggestion that I should let them choose their own brush I did, and the results were instant. The kids couldn’t wait to get home and give their new brush a spin and this affection for their own brush never left them.
Something which many of us do as parents is to get our kids to do things without actually explaining why. I was certainly guilty of this in the past, telling the kids to brush their teeth or not to eat certain things, but not actually giving them a real explanation as to why. I sat them down one night and did just this, and the kids seemed pretty horrified with talk of tooth decay and disease, horrified enough to start taking better care of themselves.
Dr. Hoss recommended that we brush our teeth together to make sure that the kids were doing their teeth properly and that they were more engaged. I honestly thought this was a foolish idea and never really expected the kids to get behind it, how wrong I was! The kids will now give us 10 and 5 minute warnings before it is time to do our teeth and the whole event has turned into a great family moment which we have each day. Of course beyond the fun, the kids are actively brushing their teeth and paying closer attention to their oral hygiene.
My kids are very competitive and so Kami and I decided that we would mark the kids out of ten when they went for their checkup, with the winner getting a trophy that they keep until the next checkup. What we created here was incredible and the kids are so blinded by their competitiveness that the by-product is that they now take great care of their teeth.
Why not give these tips a try? Let me know how you get on.