In our New York dentist office, most of our patients have a smartphone or tablet. Media isn't the way of the future – it is life, right now. Both adults, teens, and even young kids use electronics as a means to receive information and communicate on a daily basis. Since our goal is to promote oral health, what better way to do so than by using media?
This works especially well with children and teens that are too busy for oral health but always have time for a YouTube video or a quick video game. While we would love to assume that kids put their oral hygiene first, we would rather help them to start brushing their teeth correctly and for the right amount of time. Fortunately, we have several easy ways to do so and things that you can implement at home.
The American Dental Association
As a New York dentist, we think that the ADA is on the right track. They have an entire website that is full of resources for parents and kids. Our favorite section is the one featuring two minute cartoons. We know that if your child is brushing for less than two minutes, they probably aren't getting a good enough clean. Things like plaque and bacteria can be left on their teeth simply because they aren't brushing long enough or correctly. In order to address this problem, the ADA created a series of two minute videos. They aren't boring but feature popular cartoons like Adventure Time. Your kids can brush and watch, and when the show is over, their teeth should be clean. This works far better than using a stopwatch or timer, and kids of all ages respond well to it.
In our New York dentist office, we speak with a lot of parents that are all for getting their kids to brush their teeth but are not interested in having them watch another video. If that's the case, listen to music instead. Take turns picking a fun song and you and your kids can spend your two minutes in brushing and dancing. This can make your morning routine a lot more fun and as a bonus, you can find out what kind of songs they are listening to. This may work better for the teenagers in your house and, despite their protests, remember that most teens are not brushing properly.
We encourage you, as a parent, to take the time to think about teeth brushing and how you can make it more fun. Kids tend to avoid things that they think are boring or forced. By creating a positive association, you may be able to get them interested in oral hygiene. That is the point of the videos and music – make teeth brushing a positive experience. As a New York dentist, we will reinforce what you are doing at home and continue reminding your child of how important oral health is. Together, we can encourage your kids to establish healthy habits.