Teaching and convincing kids to brush their teeth can be frustrating for any parent, especially while they are young. While your child may cry during toothbrushing sessions, you have to push on and remember that the cries will be worse when they are the result of pain from tooth decay. You will have to be patient and put effort into helping your little ones learn the right way to keep their teeth clean.
Here are four steps to teaching your kids to brush their teeth properly:
You will need to get your child a toothbrush that is appropriate for their age and their sensitive teeth. You can allow them to have a part in choosing their toothbrush so that they feel more excited about brushing their pearly whites. Aside from the toothbrush, you will need to buy child-friendly toothpaste. Unlike toothpaste for adults, children’s toothpaste has less fluoride so that your young ones don’t swallow too much as they brush. You can switch to regular toothpaste as your children grow older. Flavored flosses and mouthwashes appropriate to your child’s age are also things that you should prepare before your child’s first brush.
When you teach kids anything from math to brushing their teeth, you need to give them the motivation to learn and exert effort. The most common way to motivate your child to brush correctly is to encourage them to enjoy the activity. You should brush your teeth with your child to show them that brushing teeth is a fun activity that grownups do. This, in turn, will motivate them to do it as well.
Fun music can also help sustain their motivation and attention. You can use a timer set to two minutes that will make a funny sound when brushing time is up, and you and your child can have a good laugh while seeing each other’s pearly whites. You can also play a one-minute long tune while your child brushes their top row of teeth. When the music stops, they also stop, and you can play another one-minute tune that will play as your child brushes the bottom row of their teeth.
Once you manage to sustain their attention, you have to teach them how to brush correctly. When it’s their first time to brush, you may need to guide their hands, but eventually, they should learn how to brush their teeth by themselves.
While brushing in front of a mirror, tell your child to bite their teeth first as they begin to brush their front teeth in a circular motion. Then, tell them to brush the left and right sides while their jaws are still clenched. After that, have them open their mouth and brush their top row of teeth followed by the bottom row. They should then brush their lower and upper molars. Ask them to spit the paste out before they gently brush their tongue, cheeks, and palate. Finally, have your little one gargle with water to rinse and then floss between their teeth.
Another way to make them practice their teeth brushing is through pretend play. Give them a separate toothbrush that they can use to brush the “teeth” of their favorite doll or stuffed animal. Watch them how they do it and explain how they should do it if you observe that they missed some steps.
When they know that you are watching, they know that they can’t goof off or take shortcuts when they brush their teeth. Some children may also get distracted and play with the water and toothpaste instead of brushing their teeth. You have to supervise them to enforce the habit of toothbrushing, and they will eventually pick it up as part of their daily routine.
// Schedule your kids an appointment with a dentist
It’s crucial to take your child to a dentist for a check-up at least every quarter of the year. If you are living in New Jersey, you can schedule an appointment with Vitarelli Dental so that they can check your children’s teeth. The trained dentists will also talk to your children to explain why they should brush their teeth properly as grownups do and how they should do it to prevent tooth decay and other nasty mouth problems.
Vitarelli Dental is a dental office based in Madison NJ, get in touch today to see how we can help you maintain a great set of teeth.