As adults, we know that our dental health is closely connected to our general health, but this is a difficult concept for kids to understand. They might see brushing their teeth a chore, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. So just how can you get your kids to take an interest in their teeth? Keep reading for a few tips for teaching kids how to brush their teeth and why they should do it.
Be an example
Kids pick up their mannerisms, language, and habits from the adults they observe around them. The best way to get your child interested in taking care of their teeth is to set a good example and take care of your own. If your child sees you brushing your teeth in the morning and evening, they’ll probably become curious and maybe even want to give it a try. If you make it seem like a fun activity, they’ll be more likely to enjoy it themselves.
Another great way to get kids used to the idea of taking care of their teeth is to start as early as possible. Many dentists recommend brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth comes in. That usually happens at around six months. When the teeth come in, there will likely be large spaces in between. Once teeth start touching, around two or three years, you should introduce floss into the dental hygiene routine. The earlier the child gets used to having brushes and floss inside their mouth, the less uncomfortable it will be. They will then be more likely to start taking care of it themselves. The idea stands for professional dental care, too; schedule their first dental appointment around their first birthday, even if they don’t have many teeth. The dentist will check up on how the teeth are developing and coming in and offer advice for teething. They’ll also have the added benefit of getting used to going to the dentist.
Make it Fun
Even for adults, tooth brushing is not the most exciting activity. To prevent any complaints at bedtime or after breakfast, make dental care fun. You can do this in a lot of ways. Here are some of our favorites.
- Use a timer. For a small child, tooth brushing can feel like an eternity. Setting a two-minute timer can help kids see an end in sight, and it will help them brush for the right amount of time.
- Brush during commercials. If your kids watch a bit of TV before bed, make use of the commercial breaks and have your children brush one section of their teeth while they’re playing. This will break up a tedious task, keep kids occupied while they wait for their show, and will set good habits for brushing one quadrant of the teeth for 30 seconds each.
- Use music. Simply turning on a bit of music can make brushing teeth fun! Put on a favorite song and dance around with your child as you both brush. There are also brushing-specific songs that will help your child learn a brushing routine.
Get the Best Brush
Kids have different dental-care needs than adults, so it’s crucial to get the right tools to get the job done. Children of a young age don’t have the fine motor skills yet to reach all parts of the mouth, and they might not have the strength to brush the plaque away. To make up for this, a small electric toothbrush will have more brushing power, and many include a two-minute timer.
Do you want to make sure you’re on the right track with your child’s dental health? Get in touch with Newton Dental Associates and talk with the professionals about your child’s needs.