Now that the holiday break has come to an end and the kids are back in school, it’s a good time for your children to begin sticking to a regular dental care routine.

“It’s easy to let routines go during the holidays when bedtimes and morning routines are not the same as they were before the holidays,” said Dr. Cariann Champagne. “Now is a great time to rework dental care into kids’ morning and evening routines so that they are brushing and flossing twice a day on a regular basis.”

Make Brushing Fun

No one likes routines that are boring. There are many creative tactics parents can use to get in the required two minutes per brushing session.

If your kids are young, try a fun approach to brushing such as “monkey see, monkey do,” where you brush your teeth with your children and they copy everything you do from brushing your molars to your tongue.

Playing music is another way to add fun to kids’ daily dental care routine. Play a fun, upbeat tune on your cell phone or even on your guitar, if you’re musical. You can even select songs that are close to two minutes in length so that your children begin to understand how long of a time period they are supposed to brush.

Switching It Up for the Teens

It can get more challenging for parents to encourage their children to take care of their teeth as kids get older. Don’t feel guilty about checking up on them. You have to for their sake.

If your teenager says they have brushed their teeth and you suspect they haven’t, it’s ok to check if their toothbrush is wet. If it isn’t, explain to them how important it is that they take care of their teeth on a regular basis and watch them to make sure they do brush.

As children enter their teenage years, they get more self conscious about their hygiene.

According to the American Dental Association, a simple piece of used floss could change everything for a teen. It sounds gross, but this tactic helped Dr. Lopez Howell encourage teens to maintain good dental habits throughout high school and college.

To remind them about the importance of flossing, Dr. Howell will ask her teenage patients to floss their teeth and then have them smell the actual floss. If the floss smells bad, she reminds them that their mouth must smell the same way.

“It’s an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Dr. Howell explains. “They do not want to have bad breath, especially once they see how removing the smelly plaque might improve their social life!”

Whether your children are young or getting older, it is important for parents to keep an eye on their kids when it comes to dental routines. Consistency is the best form of oral care for children and reinforces regular care throughout their lifetime.

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year to you and your family!