Five Tips for Getting Kids to Brush Their Teeth
Getting kids to brush their teeth is a challenge all parents will face. Adults know the benefits of good oral hygiene, but kids have a different perspective. Kids challenge parents on tooth brushing for various reasons. So how do you get your child to brush their teeth properly?
How Do You Teach a Child to Brush Their Teeth?
If you’re having trouble getting your kids to brush their teeth, don’t give up the fight. One in five kids already has at least one cavity by age 11. Kids with poor oral health are apt to miss more school as well, causing a ripple throughout their lives. Get your kids to start brushing properly — and keep it up — with these five tips.
1. Start Brushing Early
Habits are built. The sooner you start building strong oral health habits, the better. Kids can begin to learn brushing techniques before they have teeth to care for. Teach healthy habits during all stages of development:
- Infants: Wipe your infant’s gums each night with a damp cloth. Wiping baby gums removes bacteria, keeping gums clean as teeth come in.
- Six months: Transition to a brush as your child’s first teeth arrive and encourage use both morning and night.
- First birthday: Regardless of how many teeth they’ve grown, schedule your child’s first dental exam around their first birthday.
- Toddlers – three years: Introduce daily flossing once the upper and lower teeth begin touching.
- Ongoing care: Schedule dental exams every six months to ensure proper oral development.
Baby teeth require as much care as adult teeth. Their temporary nature does not excuse them from a need for brushing and flossing. Encouraging kids to brush early will build strong brushing habits and keeps their mouths healthy.
2. Set the Example
Kids learn by watching. They also enjoy imitating their parents. If they see you brushing, they will want to start brushing, too. Teach your kids by allowing them to observe your brushing and flossing routine. Explain and demonstrate each step and show them how satisfied you are to complete it.
Once kids start brushing, create a routine and keep it. Busy days create the temptation for skipping brushing. The more routine you build, the easier it will be to motivate your kids to dedicate the two minutes necessary to brushing. Brushing together helps everyone maintain good oral hygiene.
3. Make Brushing Fun
Two minutes is a long time for a child to stand in one place, so there are several methods you can use to make tooth brushing fun for toddlers and older kids alike. Toothbrushing apps for smartphones, videos and music can help you transform an otherwise challenging task into a game your kids enjoy.
Creating a reward system is another fun way to get kids to brush their teeth. Rewards for successfully meeting brushing goals can get kids excited about brushing and flossing. Encourage accomplishing streaks, meeting time goals and receiving clean bills of health at the dentist’s office.
4. Give Them a Choice
Kids have to brush twice per day, for at least two minutes each time. Letting them choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste encourages them to meet that goal. Toothbrushes for kids make brushing more fun, and toothpaste flavors play a big role in generating brushing enthusiasm.
5. Be Attentive
If your kids won’t brush their teeth, it may be due to pain or sensitivity. Kids can be sensitive to brushing. Be patient and attentive when introducing brushing and flossing to kids. Special baby teethers promote healthy teeth, and many options are available for toothbrushes designed for toddlers and kids.
Pediatric Dental Care and Exams at 209 NYC Dental
Teach your kids that brushing can be fun to build strong habits they’ll have their entire lives. Lifelong oral health starts with prevention. Schedule a pediatric dentist appointment for your children every six months. Contact us online or call us at 212-355-2290 to schedule your child’s exam at 209 NYC Dental today.