We all know it is important to take care of our teeth. But this doesn’t mean every child enjoys the task or even has the dexterity to do it well. Instead, it is a skill that must be practiced often to learn how to clean their teeth effectively. Brushing one’s teeth as an adult is not considered a big deal. But for kids, learning how to keep their teeth looking their best is an important skill. Children take their cues from parents, and that’s where you come into the picture.
7 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth
1. Start young.
Young children do not have the motor skills to brush or floss their teeth. It is up to you to do it for them and then model it so they can watch. Begin brushing your child’s teeth when they are an infant. There are many products available for this task. As your child ages, you can begin letting them do it themselves. Let them do it themselves first, then take their brush and do a second brush. This way, they get in the habit, but you are following up to ensure all the teeth are cleaned.
2. The right tools.
Be sure your child has a kid’s toothbrush so that it will fit comfortably in their mouth and hand. This will make it easier for them to brush. Make brushing palatable by purchasing kid-friendly toothpaste for them. If they aren’t opposed to the flavor of the toothpaste, they will be more willing to brush. Opt for fluoridated toothpaste. This will give them extra protection, so they clean and protect their teeth every time they brush.
3. Set the example.
Children are natural mimics. If your kids see you brushing and flossing, they will be more inclined to do it. Consider making it a game. Stand facing your child and challenge them to mirror your motions. Then, while brushing/flossing, make silly faces for them to copy or pat your head with one hand or any other actions that come to mind. Remember, the goal is to brush for two minutes, minimum, so keeping them engaged will help. Plus, it makes for some fun memories!
4. Practice on toys.
Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or doll with teeth? Then, let them practice brushing the toy’s teeth. Show them the proper steps and talk them through brushing. Give praise and encouragement as they learn and improve.
5. Use media.
Check out YouTube for videos that teach kids proper brushing techniques. Numerous choices are available, so finding something that engages, educates, and entertains shouldn’t be difficult.
6. Tell/read a story.
Let your child choose the book and read to them as they brush. You may need to pause to ensure they are brushing correctly, but a story is a great way to help them stay on task.
7. Play a song.
It is important to brush for at least two minutes. Children have a hard time tracking time. Listening to a song- be sure it is long enough- makes it easier. And if it happens to be a song they enjoy, even better.
Being a parent is a blessing, but it is also a responsibility. We have many things to teach our children, but seeing them smile as they master each challenge is worth it. Be sure your children have a smile they can be proud of by teaching them proper dental hygiene. If you have any questions or concerns about dental health, please talk to one of our team members at Crosstown Dental Hershey. We’re here to help.