Any parent of young children will tell you teaching them to brush their teeth twice a day is a lot harder than it seems. Kids are easily distracted and sometimes don’t immediately see the benefits of brushing. Especially when there are so many other fun things to do.
Good dental habits do not happen by accident and as a parent, there is a lot we can do to ensure our kids have great dental hygiene skills for life. Children’s dentists will recommend you take your child to see them by age one, or within six months after their first tooth comes in. Your dentist can then inspect their teeth for any irregularities and show you the correct brushing methods for your child.
Start your Children’s Dental Hygiene Early
You may think brushing baby teeth isn’t important because kids will lose them anyway. However, it is essential to instill a tooth brushing routine early on in life. Dental care even before the first tooth arrives is important, as it can help prevent many dental issues as your child grows older.
Tooth decay, which is one of the most common chronic early childhood diseases can lead to many problems, such as missing teeth and gingivitis. If they don’t start brushing now your child can experience problems with eating, speaking, and/or discomfort that lasts well into the emergence of their adult teeth.
Some children have special sensitivities. Children with autism or disorders of attention will usually be more sensitive to touch than others, especially when brushing their teeth. Even in these cases, it is important to start good oral hygiene early.
So, how do you make your child like brushing their teeth? Here are a few suggestions:
How does chocolate toothpaste sound? Yeah, not good to us, but, to your child, it could make all the difference. Sometimes, our adult toothpaste is too intense for their little mouths, so those alternatives are usually better and more fun for them.
You can also allow your little one to pick their toothbrush and toothpaste. There are a lot of options that feature characters from your little one’s favorite books, movies, and tv shows.
It’s a general consensus that the actual brushing itself at this age has more importance than the toothpaste. So, if no fun flavored kinds of toothpaste work, that’s okay, you can do without for a while.
Make up a Toothbrush Song
Another good way to get your kids to brush is to make up a fun tooth brushing song or sing a song as your child brushes. Music creates a joyful and relaxed environment and makes the 2 minutes of brushing time fly by. There are so many toothbrushing songs, you’re sure to find one your child will love. Add dance to your song, and before you know it, teeth brushing time will be a fun party every time.
Positive reinforcement is another great way to increase the chances your little one will develop a life-long good oral care routine. You could also make charts and give them stickers for brushing their teeth twice a day and for flossing. Remind them during the day how nice their teeth look as well. You could always show them horrible (but still kid-friendly) pictures of what a mouth looks like without oral care as well.
Be Interactive. Be Creative.
Being creative and using the time to interact with your child is a win-win for everyone. You can make brushing a fun time by “accidentally” brushing their cheek with water, and singing songs with your mouth full of toothpaste foam. Repurpose classic kids games like Simon says or Musical chairs and make a tooth brushing version of them.
Just remember that it should not be an activity that you “do to them”. It needs to be fun and the teeth brushing part is something that they do for themselves.
A lot of the things your children learn they learn from observing you. This makes it extremely important to set a good example in everything you do, including brushing your teeth.