Brushing is a critical part of maintaining good oral health. The ADA recommends that you brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time. This is true for adults as well as children. However, getting your child to brush their teeth can often pose a bit of a problem. This is why we at National Dental Hicksville have compiled a few tips to help.
You probably do not think much about the toothbrush you pick out for yourself. However, if you look at the children’s toothbrushes, you will quickly notice that they are available in all kinds of different colors, and have characters from popular kids shows all over them. While you may know your child’s favorite color or their favorite show, let them pick their toothbrush. By giving them this freedom, they will be more apt to use it. Just make sure that the bristles are soft and the head of the toothbrush is small, as smaller heads are designed specifically for smaller mouths.
Just like you, your child should be brushing for a total of 2 minutes every time they brush. Rather than watching the clock, your child should be paying attention to their mouth. Sing a song for them while they brush. There are several songs about brushing that you can find online that are designed to be sung along to popular children’s tunes. Alternatively, you can download an app that will play music for the 2 minutes, allowing your child to stay focused on the task at hand.
There are all kinds of books available that help children learn new things. There are also plenty of books about the importance of brushing your teeth. They contain relatable characters in fun or funny situations and are designed to engage your child. Pull one of these books off the shelf before getting ready to brush to get your child motivated.
Some children respond very well to reward systems. Try a sticker chart. Every time your child brushes, they can add a sticker to a calendar. Provide them with an incentive. If they brush their teeth twice a day for a week, they can pick the next movie for family movie night. Alternatively, you can let your child add up their weeks and earn something a little bigger, such as a trip to the children’s museum or the aquarium.
Whether or not you know it, your child is watching everything you do. So, when they go to brush their teeth, brush your teeth too. Show them the proper technique and let them copy you. If they see you brush your teeth regularly, they are more likely to see it as normal behavior and will be more likely to easily add brushing to their daily routine.
Very young children should be monitored closely. You can let your child brush their teeth on their own, but you should be present to monitor them. Show them the appropriate amount of toothpaste to use. When they are done brushing, go over their teeth a second time. However, the freedom to let them brush on their own is helpful to instilling independence. They may also be more willing to brush when they can do it on their own. Children can usually begin to brush on their own by the age of 6 or 7, but they should be monitored from a distance until they are around 11.
By helping your child brush their teeth now, you are setting them up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits, and a healthy mouth. For more information, contact National Dental Hicksville today at (516) 629-5086!