You have a kid who refuses to brush their teeth. You've tried taking away privileges for it, and your dentist has spoken to the child about the importance of brushing. However, your child still refuses. It may be related to ADHD, ODD, Aspergers, sensory issues or just a strong-willed child, but regardless of the reason, you're ready to embrace an alternative.
Here are some ideas to consider:
1. Make brushing look fun.
Just because your child is refusing to brush doesn't mean that you should abandon the idea. Instead of trying to force him or her to brush, sprinkle some oral hygiene options around the bathroom. Buy a new electric toothbrush and see if that entices him to try it, and also leave a bottle of mouthwash out -- many kids who are resistant to brushing will use mouthwash.
Also, buy a few flavours of dental floss. Order them online so you can try crazy flavours like bacon or strawberry. The novelty alone may entice your kid to try it at least once.
2. Buy gum.
Although brushing is the most effective way to keep teeth clean, chewing sugarless gum can also help. If your kid is suspicious, don't even tell them that it's to help their teeth. Just offer a piece after meals and snacks.
3. Leave out trays of crunchy vegetables.
Crunchy vegetables are nature's toothbrush. When you eat carrots or other raw vegetables, the little pieces agitate against your teeth as you chew, scraping off plaque. To boost your kids' dental health (regardless of their relationship with their toothbrush), leave out trays of crunchy vegetables or even apple slices to snack on.
4. Gently focus on bad breath.
It can be hard for some kids to visualise that their daily dental habits can give their teeth cavities. There is too much of a delay between the action and the consequences for them to see the connection clearly. However, bad breath is an immediate consequence of dental hygiene that even a child can understand.
Gently talk with your kid about bad breath. Don't make them feel embarrassed. Rather, talk about how people perceive bad breath and how not brushing can affect it. Even let them smell your breath before and after brushing. Use that conversation as an impetus to encourage brushing.
5. Start other habits.
If your child simply isn't in the habit of brushing, it can be hard to start a new habit. This is especially true if your child dreads brushing. To help, encourage your child to create another routine, something that they truly enjoy. Some ideas are a lavender infused foot bath at the end of the day or a bubble bath.
Then, after this habit becomes a daily routine, encourage your child to brush right before or after it. Tacking a habit you want to start onto an already established habit can be a great way to kickstart a new routine.
As a mum, I know how essential sport can be to children's development. Through team sports like soccer, kids learn persistence, sportsmanship and the value of supporting their team members. However, all that learning carries some risk as well, and a stray elbow or a ball to the face can result in oral injuries. I have been the mum rushing to the emergency room with a precious permanent tooth sitting in a cup of milk. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn't even sure if the cup of milk was the right solution. As a parent, you will face those situations, and I'm here to make sure you know what to do when they pop up. With this blog, let's explore children's dentistry and sports injuries together... I want you to have the info you need to stay cool, calm and collected, regardless of how many teeth are on the pitch.