Thursday, August 30, 2012

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Ben after losing a tooth last year.

Several years ago my husband developed a tooth infection. I'll spare you puss-filled details and just say that the abscess was disgusting. But worse than that, it hurt and consumed his thoughts and energy.

So several weeks, a couple of dentist appointments and one oral surgery later the abscess was gone and he felt much better. (I'm sure the post-surgery medications helped lift his mood as well!)

Joel takes his oral hygiene very serious after that experience! He doesn't want a repeat visit to the oral surgeon so he brushes, rinses, and flosses daily.

We've found 4 ways to encourage those healthy oral hygiene habits in our children.

  • We start brushing our children's teeth when those new pearly whites first break through the gums. Our children were early teethers so we used a damp wash cloth in place of a tooth brush. They didn't object to the wash cloth rubbing the tooth and gums.
  • We gave our preschoolers battery operated spin brushes to insure brushing happened instead of chewing on the toothbrush. These kid-sized toothbrushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Princess and Super Hero toothbrushes are preferred at our house.
  • We made brushing teeth a part of our morning and bed time routines. Oral hygiene is habit for my kids. To NOT brush their teeth before bed feels weird to them.
  • And just to make sure these habits stick, we occasionally throw in the scare tactics. In other words, we tell those gruesome stories about daddy's oral surgery and my fillings. I share how my grandparents had ALL of their teeth pulled and wore dentures because they didn't brush their teeth.
Complete Care Water Flosser System
So far all 4 methods of developing good oral hygiene habits are working. Four kids, 2 dental visits a year, and no cavities so far!

One area that we haven't been diligent in teaching our kids is flossing. Have you ever tried to floss a 3 year old? It's not easy!

But all that might be changing. We are currently trying out the Complete Care Water Flosser System and the Water Flosser for Kids.

After his first experience with the Complete Care Water Flosser System, which includes water flossing and sonic brushing, my husband declared his teeth felt really clean.

Using the water flosser system on my kids was... well... hilarious! The best way I can describe the water flosser is to picture a tiny little power washer like my husband uses to clean the grime off our siding. Only you use it to clean the grime off your teeth.

Water Pik Water Flosser for Kids
My children thought the Water Flosser for Kids was 1000x more fun that brushing! They took turns leaning over the sink while I used the water flosser to gently blast clean their teeth along the gum line. We all laughed as water poured from their open mouths.

The hysterical part occurred when I tried to manipulate the wand in their mouths and got sprayed myself!

I'm sure the more I use this effective flossing tool the more coordinated I'll become. Until then my kids will be having a good laugh at my expense every time we water floss their teeth.

Do you own a Water Pik product? 

If not, they are currently offering coupons to use to purchase the Complete Care Water Flosser System and the Water Flosser for Kids.

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for this post.  All opinions and stories expressed are my own.


Anna said...

We do use a water pik product and found it an excellent way to keep the kids' teeth clean when they were younger. Flavored dental floss helped as they got older. Now they are tweens and floss without being reminded. It does pay off to patiently teach them good oral hygiene habits. And they still love the spin toothbrushes best!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I have never tried a Water Pik product, but after reading your description, I am intrigued. Oral hygiene is an interesting topic in our house. I have had my fair share of dental work done (impacted wisdom teeth extraction, 4 permanent teeth extracted, braces, 2 crowns, 1 root canal and 2 gum grafts - along with cleanings and fillings and the regular stuff). Since I feel like I have invested a lot of money in my smile, I do my best to take care of it. So floss and brush daily. Mike carries on as if flossing is a form of torture and only does it about once a week.

Then there is Emily...I brush her teeth, but I have never tried flossing. Thankfully her baby teeth are spaced out a bit and she doesn't eat much orally so I don't stress about it at this point. Brushing her teeth is quite a challenge. Everything within her wants to bite down on that brush. I jokingly call her "lock jaw". It makes things pretty interesting. So far no cavities though so I guess we are on the right track!

Anonymous said...

I am always battling to get them to brush right. My son has an Oral B toothbrush we just bought so I'm hoping that will help him out, and I think it's time for my youngest to have some kind of spin brush too! Maybe picking one out will be our next outing ;-)

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