Your child’s oral health is vital as it can affect their ability to speak, eat, and socialize without pain and discomfort. Ensuring your child brushes their teeth twice per day is an essential part of maintaining their oral health.
It is also crucial that you take your child to the dentist for an exam and cleaning regularly. Kids should start visiting the dentist within six months of their first tooth showing up, and then every six months after that.
Getting your child to brush their teeth (when they are of the age to do it themselves) is not an easy task, but it is an essential task. Kids are often more motivated to brush their teeth when there is a game involved. As parents, you have to be creative in the way you engage them in their oral care routine.
Why Is It Important For Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth?
Though baby teeth are only temporary, it is still crucial that they are kept clean and healthy. If they aren’t taken care of, your baby may develop gum disease and cavities, which can be painful and affect their adult teeth.
What Is The Best Way to Brush Your Kids’ Teeth?
According to the Canadian Dental Association, to clean your baby’s teeth properly you should:
- Lay them in a comfortable position
- Make sure you can see into their mouth
- Use a baby toothbrush or a soft damp cloth to gently brush your baby’s teeth
If your child doesn’t have teeth yet, you should follow the above directions but use a damp cloth instead of a toothbrush. For children 3 or under, you should brush their teeth for them. Between the ages of three and six, you can begin allowing them to brush their own teeth with your help.
How to Brush Your Kids’ Teeth
Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Then, brush in gentle circles. At the front of the teeth, use the front tip of the brush to clean the teeth. Tilt the brush vertically to touch the inside of the front teeth.
How to Floss Your Kids’ Teeth
To floss, get a piece of floss string, about the length of your child’s arm, wrap it around your two middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches in the hands.
Slide the floss between the teeth, guided by your middle finger until you get to the base of the teeth, where it meets the gum.
Wrapping the floss around the tooth to form a “C” shape, slide the floss up and down until the tooth is clean. Repeat on the rest of the teeth, moving to a new part of the floss for each tooth.
After Flossing, put the floss in the garbage. Never flush down the toilet.
- Do not use toothpaste before your baby develops teeth. Consult with your dentist, who will advise on when to start using fluoridated toothpaste.
- Use toothpaste the size of a grain of rice from the ages of 0-3 years old.
- From the age of 3-6 years old, increase the amount to pea-sized fluoridated toothpaste.
Using a Toothbrush
Start your baby off by using a soft damp cloth to clean their gums and teeth. Once they have teeth, ask your dentist when to switch to a toothbrush and which ones are best.
We recommend the following for achieving maximum benefit of oral care
- Brush your kids’ teeth twice a day, in the morning and evening before bed. Concentrate around the molars as cavities tend to develop there first. Spend about 2 minutes doing this.
- Never share your kids’ toothbrushes. Replace the toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or sooner if it shows signs of wear.
- Start with flossing as soon as your kid has a couple of teeth that touch each other.
- Speak to your dentists. Ask a lot of questions protecting your kids’ teeth and mouth. Your dentist can prove tons of advice and solutions to help you and your family.
- Control your child’s intake of sugary food, especially at bedtime.
How to Help Your Kids Brush Better
Establish an Oral Care Routine Early
The best way to start is to start early. Establish a brushing routine from the onset that your kids become used to and enjoy. If you achieve this, brushing times will no longer be that chore that you don’t look forward to.
Put in place a set routine that is easy to follow, like a brush, book, and bed routine. Your child will begin to get used to the routine, and brushing becomes natural. Set a method that works for your family and name the routine, so your kids know what to expect every evening.
Join Them in Brushing
Children like to copy what their parents do. Brush your teeth when your child is brushing their teeth. Take your time to go through all steps with exaggerated movements so your child can see what you are doing. Make It Fun
Help your kids brush better by making brushing time fun. Add some music, dance, and play during the routine to make the time enjoyable for your kids. If they look forward to having fun, they are more likely to enjoy brushing their teeth.
Tell a Story
In addition to turning brushing into a fun game, you can tell a short story. A story, for example, about how a little boy or girl became a hero or heroine by defeating the “villain” (in this case, a cavity) and saving a baby tooth. Using a relatable story can encourage a reluctant child to brush their teeth.
Encourage Them to Participate
Where possible, get your child to participate in the routine. If you were playing a game of chasing the “villain” in your child’s mouth, let the child finish the task of catching the villain. You can also get the kids involved at the very onset of choosing their toothbrush and toothpaste when you go shopping.
Reward Good Behaviour
Everyone likes a reward for a job well done. Reinforcing positive behaviour is a way of getting your kids to strive to do better at brushing their teeth. You can give them a gold star or get them to choose their favourite book for bedtime reading after brushing their teeth.
Some children don’t like brushing because they don’t like the taste of particular toothpaste. Consider changing toothpaste to a kid-friendly flavour. Children’s toothpastes often have less-intense flavours that are more enjoyable for children.
It can be challenging to get your kids to enjoy brushing their teeth and doing it well but brushing is an essential part of your child’s oral care routine. Combined with flossing and regular visits to the dentist, you can help ensure your child’s oral health.