Brushing your teeth regularly is one of those fundamental lessons you learn in childhood that prepare you for a healthy life. Unfortunately, just like eating their broccoli or putting their phones away, children aren’t always interested in doing what’s right.
To prepare your children for a lifetime of good oral health, it’s important to create routines from an early age. However, the trick is to make tooth brushing anything but routine by creating an enjoyable process that eventually becomes a life long habit.
Here is some dental advice from our experts to make brushing fun for the whole family
Start from a Young Age
The best habits are formed from a young age, so introduce your children to the concept of teeth cleaning early on. From as early as infancy, you can rub your child’s gums with a soft, damp cloth and once their teeth erupt, you can start brushing their teeth for them with a soft bristle brush. Toothpaste can be used from the age of eighteen months.
Be Their Oral Idol
Teach children that brushing is for everyone by making it a family activity. Once they are old enough, allow them to have a go of brushing their own teeth. You will still need to brush properly for them until about the age of ten, depending on the child’s dexterity. By brushing and flossing together you can show off good habits to your kids while helping them with their own technique.
Children love to dress up, make believe and imitate those around them. Take advantage of this and watch your great oral health habits rub off on your family.
Teach Them Right
Something as simple as brushing and flossing can easily go wrong if you get into incorrect routines. Make sure the lessons you’re giving to your kids are the very best ones.
For brushing, ensure they know to:
- Brush in the morning and at night
- Brush at an angle towards the gums in short, circular motions
- Brush all surfaces of the teeth: tops, fronts and backs
- Use an up-and-down motion for the backs of front teeth
- Replace their toothbrush when it becomes frayed
It’s also important to learn the correct flossing technique. Floss should be held in a tight C-shape and moved up and down between each tooth.
Put them in Control in Fun Ways
Young children like to assert their independence and feel like an adult. Give children responsibility when it comes to brushing and let them make some choices
One of the best ways you can engage and empower your child is by letting them choose their toothbrush. A fun colour or a special design might make all the difference for your child’s brushing habits. You can get toothbrushes in every colour of the rainbow with characters like Minions, superheroes and Disney Princesses!
Give Them Some Incentive
When in doubt, positive reinforcement is always a great way to help children learn important lessons. Reward them with stickers, healthy snacks or just a good dose of praise. Some fun sibling rivalry can also be a great way to get them to brush their teeth. Chart each child’s progress and encourage them to beat each other’s score. Just make sure any friendly competition doesn’t override the importance of proper brushing technique.
Talk to a professional dentist in North Sydney for tips and care
McMahons Point Dental is your family dentist for North Sydney, Crows Nest, St Leonards and more. For more great advice or to complement your home care, talk to our team today. Provide your children with professional care at least twice a year and make that part of their dental care education. Make an appointment online or call (02) 9460 1661.