As a parent, it’s important to teach your child about dental hygiene. The earlier you can instill good habits in them, the more likely they are to continue!
Ideally, you should get them to brush as early as possible, but realistically, they will start when they are good and ready. Just bear in mind that they’re probably not going to do a very good job for quite a while.
Most dentists suggest that a child won’t be able to properly brush their own teeth until they are around six years old. They just don’t have the strength or dexterity required. Parents should let their children practice brushing their teeth first, and then brush again themselves to ensure a proper cleaning.
Of course, even getting your toddler to attempt to brush their teeth can be a challenge. Here are some tips to make tooth brushing time more fun and also more productive.
NUMBER 1: Teamwork
Brush your teeth together. Your child will see you brushing your teeth and with any luck will try to mimic you. You can then make a point of “checking” each other’s teeth to see if they are clean and can use this as an opportunity to brush your child’s teeth yourself, just to get the spots they missed.
NUMBER 2: Make Brushing Fun
There is a huge range of novelty toothbrushes on the market. If your child has a favorite cartoon character, see if you can find a corresponding toothbrush. Even just having brightly colored toothbrushes can hold their attention long enough to get the job done.
NUMBER 3: Tasty Toothpaste
In the early days you would be well advised to let your toddler brush with training toothpaste. This is specially designed for young children and contains no fluoride. While they are still learning how to brush, there is a good chance they will swallow quite a bit of toothpaste. Brushing with trainer toothpaste will ensure no upset tummies. Pay attention to your child’s reaction to the taste of the toothpaste. If they don’t like it, try a different flavor. With a bit of trial and error you will eventually find something they like. If they enjoy the taste they will be more likely to want to brush their teeth.
NUMBER 4: The Power of Music
Try a musical toothbrush. There are many toothbrushes on the market that play music while your child brushes. Some even have a selection of tunes, so you can change it up every time your child brushes. Many have an in-built timer, so the music will play for two minutes. This will ensure that your child brushes for the recommended time for a proper brushing.
NUMBER 5: Make Brushing a Game
You can make your child want to brush by making it into a game. Start off by finding a favorite doll or toy dinosaur. Explain to your child that they have to look after their toy’s teeth. You can get them to brush the doll’s teeth and then, when they’re finished move on to brushing their own.
Teaching your child to brush their teeth at an early age is vital for the development of good oral hygiene habits. Sure, it may take some work on your part. You may have to spend a bit of money before you find the right brush for your toddler. Ultimately the time and money you spend now is a small price to pay for your child’s ongoing dental health.