Getting your child to brush without a struggle is not always easy. Many children are resistant to brushing due to the taste of toothpaste, sensory issues, gagging, or other factors that can impact their oral health. While every kid is different, there are things that parents can do to make teeth brushing a more pleasant experience for everyone involved. At Hancock Village Dental, we do not see children under the age of 13. However, if your child’s teeth start at a young age with a good foundation of oral care, visits to Hancock Village Dental when they are old enough will be far easier for them. Check out these easy tips and tricks to get your child to brush his or her teeth.
1. Start Early
One of the best things you can do as a parent is to get your child used to brushing from an early age. In fact, you can start cleaning your child’s gums in infancy by wiping them with a wet washcloth. Once a tooth erupts, you can help your child start brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
2. Provide Assistance
Toddlers and small children may need help brushing their teeth as most young children do not possess these fine motor skills. Providing a helping hand can help ensure that your child’s teeth are properly cleaned and can prevent your child from becoming frustrated with the process. When brushing, explain what you are doing aloud and allow your child to practice on their own.
3. Establish a Routine
Children thrive on routines. It is important to make teeth brushing part of your child’s regular daily routine from a young age. For example, you may have your child brush after dressing in the morning and again before going to bed. Over time, teeth brushing will become second nature.
4. Stay Consistent
It’s easy to let teeth brushing slip when you’re not paying attention or you’re too tired to commit. However, allowing your child to skip brushing his or her teeth is never a good idea. It takes just 24 to 72 hours for dental plaque on the teeth to harden into tartar and the only way to remove tartar is by bringing your child to a pediatric dentist.
5. Try Fun Characters
Sometimes, choosing the right toothbrush can make all the difference. Children’s toothbrushes can be found with many different popular characters, from Mickey Mouse and Minions to Spiderman and Paw Patrol. Bring your child along to the store and have them choose their own toothbrush to get them excited to brush.
6. Practice Brushing on Dolls
Teeth brushing can be a little scary when you don’t know what to expect. Give your child a toothbrush and have them practice brushing on a doll or stuffed animal. Remind your child not to place the “play toothbrush” into their own mouth and how you should never share your own toothbrush with another person to prevent the spread of germs.
7. Sing a Song
Songs can make the time go by faster. Bring your smartphone or tablet into the bathroom and play a kids’ teeth brushing song on YouTube as your child brushes. Alternatively, you can sing a song yourself to encourage your little one to brush.
8. Make It a Game
Children love a challenge. Make teeth brushing a fun game by challenging your child to brush for a full two minutes. Set a timer and put it on the sink where he or she can see it count down. Provide plenty of encouragement throughout the game to help your child reach the finish line.
9. Be a Role Model
Kids often want to do the things that they see their parents doing. Be a good role model for your child by allowing them to see you brush twice a day. Oral health habits are often passed down from parent to child, meaning if you take good care of your teeth, your child is likely to follow suit.
10. Reward Good Behavior
Small rewards can be a great motivator for young children learning to brush. Whether it’s stickers, a reward chart, or a trip to the zoo at the end of the month, children love working towards exciting rewards.
Visit Hancock Village Dental
Along with regular brushing, your child should see a dentist at least every six months. Children ages 13 and older can visit us at Hancock Village Dental. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for your child.