Brushing Teeth: Teaching Your Kids to Brush
Although it’s true that your child’s baby teeth will eventually be placed under their pillow for the Tooth Fairy, they still need to be well taken care of! Baby teeth need to be healthy not only so they don’t get painful cavities, but also because they hold the spots for permanent teeth. If those spots aren’t being protected through good brushing habits the spaces could affect how your child’s permanent teeth grow. Here are a number of ways to teach kids to brush, and to do so effectively:
Establish a family routine.
Firstly, it’s important to establish an everyday family routine when you teach kids to brush their teeth. Reinforce the significance of brushing teeth by giving them good, clear reasons. Tell them that brushing everyday helps to prevent cavities and will give them a beautiful smile.
Lead by example.
Make your kid see how you brush your teeth both in the morning and at night. Explain to him why you do so. Bend down and brush your teeth at their level so that they can really get a good idea of how you are brushing. Demonstrate the correct brushing movements and always relate these movements to something fun. By doing this, you child will always associate the teeth brushing experience with fun!
Show them how you brush all the teeth, top and bottom, front and back. While he is watching, ask him if he wants to try too. Children love copying their parents, so chances are he might want to experiment with the brush. If he does, do not worry about getting it “right” the first time.
Let him get used to the feel of toothbrush inside his mouth. Slowly, you can offer to help. “Here, mama will show you how to reach the corners”
Teach proper brushing techniques.
While you teach kids to brush their teeth properly, make sure that your children brush their teeth twice a day, in the mornings and evenings. Here are some steps to make sure he brushes properly:
Step 1: Teach your kid(s) to angle a soft-bristled brush at an angle of 45 degrees towards the upper and lower teeth’s gums.
Step 2: Now move the toothbrush gently and in short strokes in a back-and-forth movement along the gums and teeth. Continue with this method along every tooth’s exterior and interior surface.
Step 3: Brush or scrape the tongue properly to get rid of any bacterial buildup.
Step 4: Stress to them why it’s important to spit out the remaining paste when they are done brushing. Tell your kid that although the toothpaste still tastes fruity yummy, it’s now yucky from cleaning off their teeth and must go down the drain.
Lower your expectations.
Your child probably won’t be cleaning the gum lines or reaching crevices just yet. Don’t sweat it. Those early lessons are more about instilling the brushing habit than techniques. The more practice they get, the faster they will improve.
Choose a short brush with two rows of soft bristles on a small head. Undertake research on the best toothbrush by looking at baby toothbrush reviews online. Store a spare brush. They get lost, dirty, and wear out quickly. Toothpaste isn’t necessary, but if your toddler loves the foamy grins, use a dab of flavored toothpaste. If your buy fluoride toothpaste, only use a pea-sized dab. Children swallow toothpaste and too much fluoride can damage the teeth by causing fluorosis.
Get them involved.
Allow your child to pick out a toothbrush in a favorite color and give some freedom in choosing an anti-cavity toothpaste. You may think that purple grape toothpaste and super hero sparkly toothbrush are ridiculous, but if your kid wants to brush when using these tools, that makes all the difference!
Generously give commendation.
Praise your precious son or daughter for doing a good job at brushing their teeth. Give rewards like letting your baby eat cheerios and puffs if they maintain their schedule. Constantly reinforce that strong, healthy teeth are important for beautiful smiles and powerful chompers! Resist the tendency to use fear to motivate. You don’t want your child to be afraid of the dentist or the pain associated with cavities or to worry about his teeth falling out if he doesn’t brush them.
Utilize Educational Tools.
Often times, children tend to pay more attention to messages from other sources than their parents. Using educational tools is key in the implementation of any healthy habit. When your kid watch videos, reads books, or play games that have to do with brushing for example, dental hygiene tasks become more important to him.
Good, Clean Fun.
With the right toys and stickers, dreaded tasks like brushing teeth can actually muster a smile — and even a few laughs — from your child. With customizable stickers and features that slowly increase brushing time and make sure all four quadrants of the mouth are cleaned, kids can have a little fun brushing on their own, and parents can rest easy knowing that they’re doing a good job.
Making brushing a fun experience.
One creative trick to help encourage your child to brush their teeth is to come up with a story relating to the importance of brushing and one that they will not forget in a hurry. There are so many ways to do this but the general theme is to make them believe that tooth cavities and toothache are caused by “sugar bugs” or “plaque monsters”. By making children mildly fearful of these sorts of imaginary creatures will truly help highlight that there really are consequences when you fail to brush your teeth.
Add some drama to the sugar bug battle and tie a cape around your child so he can become a real superhero fighting the evil sugar bugs. (Just be careful not to scare your child into believing that his mouth is crawling with bugs – that could be traumatic for some kids!)
Check for Sensitivity.
The refusal by your kid to brush might have very little to do with assertiveness. Some kids are more sensitive to touch than others, which makes tooth brushing especially unpleasant. Children with autism or attention disorders are likely to have sensitivities that affect oral care and you should consult your dentist for appropriate advice and recommendation.
Regular dental visits can and should begin as early as six months after the first tooth erupts or after the child’s first birthday. When a child is taught a new skill at an early age, he is likely to continue this behavior throughout adulthood. Teaching proper brushing and flossing techniques is important for developing good oral hygiene habits.