As a parent, you want your child to learn how to keep their smile bright, healthy, and free of dental bills! Your children grow by watching what you do, so it’s important to show them how to form healthy dental habits. Below are a few great ways to start teaching your children how to take care of their teeth:
Start Teaching Them Early – Form a daily routine by brushing your child’s teeth even before they have grown in. Run a clean, wet, soft cloth over the inside of their cheeks and gums to get rid of food particles and sugars from mealtimes. This will give you peace-of-mind that their mouth is staying clean, as well as get them used to cleaning their mouth daily.
Brush for and With Them – Young children don’t have the motor skills to brush their own teeth when they start growing in, so you will need to do it for them. When they are old enough to start understanding the motor skills themselves (which is usually around the age of 6 or 7), guide their toothbrush to teach them the proper technique. Once they are able to properly follow the motions and brush their teeth without your help, it’s important to continue encouraging this habit. A great way to create a morning and bedtime habit for your child is to brush your teeth beside them as something you can do together!
Remember to Floss – Flossing is important as soon as your child has teeth that are starting to touch, often around the age of 2 or 3. Just like brushing, you’ll have to help your child floss until they are at the age where they are comfortable in doing it themselves. To do this, wrap the floss around your two middle fingers and use your index fingers to work the strand between your child’s teeth. Additionally, flossing your child’s teeth comes with the added benefit of helping you to remember to floss your own teeth!
Give Them a Special Toothbrush and a Toy Toothbrush – Some kids don’t enjoy brushing and will fuss when they must do it. To help them enjoy brushing, you should get them a toy toothbrush and a special toothbrush. A toy toothbrush is the toothbrush that your child will fuss around with, half-heartedly using it just to get it over with. You know that they are not really brushing their teeth with it, but that’s okay, because that’s what the special toothbrush is for. This toothbrush is for after they’ve played around with their toy one. This one is special because you’ve let them pick out the color and design. Maybe this one has their favorite superhero on it, or maybe it plays music just for them only as they brush. Remember, the toy toothbrush is something they can play around with, the special toothbrush is for real brushing.
Download a Tooth Brushing App – That’s right, an app that encourages your child to brush their teeth! There are a variety of apps out there on the app store that are specifically designed to encourage children to brush their teeth for the correct amount of time. Apps like Brush Up and Disney Magic Timer use characters to show your child the correct way to brush, and will keep them engaged for the full two minutes they need to brush for. Apps like Brush DJ and Brush Time help kids stay excited by playing music for the two minutes of brush time, and also offer the ability to set daily reminders to brush again.
Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks – We may all be a little guilty once in a while of snacking on a sugary treat or drink between meals. Since our children look to us for the snacks to enjoy, it’s important to encourage healthier snacks, such as vegetables and water. By substituting sugary snacks with healthier choices, your child will be helping their oral and overall health.
The team of dental professionals at Belmont Dental Group loves to keep children’s teeth healthy with routine cleanings and exams. We know it may be hard to help your child start their healthy dental habits, so we will gladly let you know about ways to get your kids to brush and floss for good oral hygiene. If you need other suggestions about making regular brushing easier for your child, call us at (617) 484-2431 or contact us for answers or book an appointment with our caring dental team.