Are you a parent worried about your child’s oral hygiene?
Do you want to know the best practices when it comes to teaching your kids the proper way to brush their teeth and floss?
If so, then this article is perfect for you. We will cover all the important topics you need to know to educate your children on proper oral hygiene.
Read on to learn more about tooth brushing for kids.
Start at an Early Age
Getting into the habit of brushing your teeth starts at an early age.
It is recommended that before your child even sports their first tooth, a parent should be using a warm cloth to wipe and clean their gums.
The average first tooth appears between ages 4 to 6 months, meaning that you should be prepared to begin brushing earlier than you may think.
Pick the Right Toothbrush
One of the most important factors when beginning your child’s oral hygiene is to use the right toothbrush.
An obvious reason to use a child brush is because of the smaller size, making it easier to fit in your young one’s mouth and move around for proper brushing.
A children’s toothbrush also has softer bristles, allowing the child to learn how to apply the right amount of pressure without damaging their gums.
Other benefits of children toothbrushes include fun factors such as “light up” brushes, sing along brushes, colourful and themed brushes, all aimed at making brushing a fun activity.
Demonstrate Brushing Techniques
Children learn by example and understanding the basics on how to brush your teeth is taught directly by the parent.
Take the time to show your child the right amount of toothpaste to put on the brush prior to brushing.
Explaining how to hold the brush horizontally to his or her mouth helps to keep the bristles properly aligned when brushing.
Showing your child how to clean their chewing surfaces with circular motions front and back will give them the confidence they need while cleaning their teeth.
Finally, make sure you teach your child the importance of after brushing cleanup.
Have your child spit out any excess toothpaste. Wash their toothbrush thoroughly and place it in a dry place to avoid bacteria accumulation.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Did you know that children should start flossing as early as 2 to 3 years old?
That’s right, as soon as two teeth start touching, it’s time to break out the floss and get to work.
Teaching your child how to use floss is quite a bit different than a toothbrush, so be sure to take your time and expect a higher level of patience.
Show your child how to pull the string, what length to make it, and how to loop it around his or her fingers for easier use.
Demonstrate how to place the string between the teeth, being careful not to cut into the gums.
Provide guidance on how to get around in the mouth and where to position your hands when trying to get to those “hard to reach” teeth.
Join in on Brushing
Setting the right example is half the battle and if you can instill how important it is for children and parents to brush their teeth on a daily basis, then your child will pick up the right habits.
Try setting aside some “child and parent” time during your routine and make brushing your teeth something that you two do together.
Always take the time to thoroughly brush your own teeth when joining in on the activity to make sure the child learns how important it is.
Offer brushing advice when you are brushing together to correct any poor brushing habits early on.
Dedicate at least two brushings a day with your child to set the proper routine and time of morning and bedtime brushing.
Set a Timer
Follow the two-minute rule. Most dentists recommend at least 120 seconds of brushing.
Setting a timer to indicate when your brushing session is done will help your child learn the amount of “proper” time is needed for each cleaning.
Timers can also be made into a game, offering a “race” for the children to finish all their teeth in the set time.
Parents and Children can even race against each other to demonstrate how long one should spend on each tooth in order to complete the set before time runs out.
Reward Excellent Brushing
Positive reinforcement is a beautiful thing, and getting praise for brushing your teeth is no exception.
Offering high fives, hooray and an good job after each tooth is complete will encourage your child to move onto the next with full commitment.
Another great reward system is to connect brushing one’s teeth to another reward. For example, after a “good” brushing the child picks out their favorite book to be read before bedtime.
There are plenty of creative ways to help promote healthy hygiene while making it rewarding.
Early Dentist Checkups
One of the biggest stigmas is the fear of going to the dentist.
Most find this to be the case not because of the experience itself, but the “idea” of going to the dentist.
By bringing your child in for regular checkups at an early age, they become accustomed to seeing the doctor, getting evaluated, and finding out that not every visit requires the drill.
This also shows the child that visiting the dentist is a normal part of life.
This early building of trust will also make it easier for the child to accept any dental work that needs to be done if the time comes. Having built that relationship and trust with your personal dentist.
Later on in life, this will also make your orthodontics appointment go smoothly, as your child has an investment into their overall oral hygiene.
Oral hygiene is a lifelong investment. Starting out at an early age, with the proper guidance and support your child can enjoy a healthy smile.
Whether you are working with your very first child (or third), the steps remain the same. Take time to stress the importance of oral hygiene.
Set aside quality time to brush together, and always offer positive reinforcement for a job well done.