Proper brushing and flossing every day is essential for the health and development of little mouths. Without this care, your child’s mouth is at serious risk for complications, such as tooth decay. It can be difficult, though, to get your children to brush their teeth, and do so correctly. At National Dental Upper East Side, we have compiled some tips for you to get your child brushing, which will help to ensure their oral health well into their adult years.
There are all kinds of toothbrushes out there aimed at children. Some are brightly colored, while others contain images of popular kid’s show characters. One of the best ways to get your child motivated to brush is to allow them to pick their own toothbrush. Just make sure that whatever brush they choose, the head is small (to better fit a child’s mouth), and the bristles are soft.
There are multiple books available at your local bookstore that revolve around brushing. The simple stories teach your children the importance of brushing their teeth. The characters are fun and relatable. Consider adding some of these books to your arsenal, to read before it’s time to brush.
Many kids respond well to sticker charts. Every time your child brushes their teeth, which should be done at least once in the morning and once before bedtime, they can add a sticker to the day. At the end of the week, they can earn a reward. It doesn’t have to be anything tangible. You may want to consider offering rewards like letting your child pick the movie for movie night, or reading them an extra story before bed. Or, you may consider letting your child save their rewards and cashing them in at the end of the month for a trip to the zoo or aquarium.
Like adults, a child’s brushing session should last two minutes. There are several songs that you can look up online about brushing that go along to the tune of other popular children’s songs. You can sing them while your child brushes. There are also apps that you can download onto your phone that will time your child’s brushing, or you can simply set a two-minute timer.
Whether you know it or not, your children watch everything you do. And they will mimic your behavior. To teach your children the proper way to brush, brush your teeth with them. Let them watch how you brush your teeth, so they can see the proper technique.
As your child is brushing, be sure you monitor their technique. Make sure they apply the appropriate amount of toothpaste. Check to see they are getting all of the surfaces of their teeth, and that they are holding their toothbrush correctly. You may need to assist your child, or go over their teeth a second time for a while, but letting them have the independence to brush their own teeth is important. Children can usually brush their teeth on their own by the age of 6 or 7, but you should still monitor them at a distance until the age of 10 or 11.
With proper brushing habits started early in life, your child will be set up for a lifetime of good oral health. For more information, contact National Dental Upper East Side today at (646) 736-2206!