Is Your Child Struggling With Their Oral Hygiene?
There are many reasons your child might be struggling with their oral hygiene, and as a parent, sometimes you might feel helpless because you can’t always control the actions or choices of your kids. You can, however, remind your children about the importance of their oral health and provide them with the tricks and tools they need to keep their smiles happy and healthy.
Offer your kids new tools.
Is there a specific reason your child doesn’t like to brush their teeth or floss? Do they not like the toothbrush they have? Do they find the flavor of toothpaste less than desirable? The good news is that there is a plethora of tools for your child to choose from.
Once you find out what it is they don’t like about the tools they use for their current oral hygiene routine, it’s time to hit the store to find something else that works for them.
If you don’t know where to start, first look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on dental products. This means those products are recommended by the ADA and have gone through testing and are found to be effective.
When looking for a toothbrush, size and shape matter! For younger children and those with a smaller mouth, choose a toothbrush with a smaller head that allows for easier movement while it is in your mouth. Also look for soft bristles on the toothbrush, which will be more gentle on the gums. There are also many electric toothbrushes available, and at many different price ranges. Look for ones with the ADA seal of approval, or ask the team at Tomasik Family Dental for recommendations!
The flavor of toothpaste can be off-putting for some people. While mint is a popular flavor, if it is something your child doesn’t like, look for other flavors. Some brands offer flavors like cinnamon and bubble gum, and some even have no taste at all. As long as you choose a product with the ADA seal, you can’t go wrong.
The same can be said for mouthwash. If your child isn’t a fan of mint, search the aisle for different flavors that might appeal to them.
And don’t forget about flossing! If your child is having a hard time using traditional dental floss, have them try using dental floss picks or even a water pick to help clean between their teeth.
Don’t nag your kids.
If there is one thing kids don’t like, it’s being nagged about things, and that can include being bothered about their oral health routine. A Gallup Poll from 2004 suggests that the majority of teens (98%) brush their teeth at least once a day, which isn’t ideal, but it is better than not brushing at all.
If you have an older child who can be more responsible, allow them the autonomy to choose for themselves when they do their oral hygiene routines. For younger children, try using a chart where they can check off when they brush their teeth each day. Sometimes seeing when things are or aren’t getting done can be motivation enough for children to pick up in the areas where they are slacking.
Don’t overload your child’s schedule.
Is your child involved in extracurricular activities? Remember, school is like a full-time job for them, especially when you add in the homework they have to do each day. It could be that your child just has too much on their plate, and they’re overloaded with their activities, causing them to be too tired to accomplish everything, including brushing their teeth, or just plain forgetting what they have and haven’t done yet. If your child seems overloaded, sit down with them and work out a schedule to find out what activities they really want to do, and which ones are just taking up too much time.
Check in with your child’s mental health.
Mental health is important for everyone, so check in with your child to make sure they are doing okay. Depression is a lot more common than many people think, and it can affect different people in different ways. Sometimes, depression can make doing simple tasks difficult. If your child is struggling, be sure to give them a little space and a lot of grace as they work through their emotions. And if your child is struggling, the best thing you can do for them is listen and not judge. If your child’s depression seems to be taking over their lives, consult their doctor or a mental health professional to help your child get the help they need. And remember, none of this is your fault as a parent, and you aren’t failing your child!
Neurodivergent brains are wired differently.
Not everyone’s brain is wired the same, and this means that not everyone learns in the same ways. Enter the term “neurodivergent,” which just means the process or way a person’s brain works isn’t considered “typical.” Those with neurodivergent brains can sometimes have a hard time understanding and processing things the way you do. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them; they just might go about things in a different way. If this is the case for your child, work with them to set boundaries regarding their oral health. Do they need to set an alarm twice each day to make sure they brush their teeth at the same time? Sometimes, neurodivergent people can have sensory issues, meaning they don’t like the way certain things feel or taste. If that is the case for your child, find out if there is a differently textured toothbrush they want to try, or a different flavor of toothpaste.
Visit Tomasik Family Dental Twice A Year
Don’t forget to visit the team at Tomasik Family Dental at least twice a year for your regular checkups. You can always ask our team for recommendations to help your child build a better oral health routine!