Getting kids to brush their teeth isn’t always easy. But if it turns into a twice-daily battle, your kids could start having negative associations related to dental hygiene. No one in our Long Island pediatric dental practice wants that! With a little creativity and a spirit of fun, you can make toothbrushing time pleasant. Here are a few tips for making the brushing ritual easier…and even fun!
- Help your little ones get used to the feeling of something in their mouths by cleaning their gums with a soft cloth – even before their teeth come in!
- Once those tiny teeth start showing, it is time to use a toothbrush. Make a big deal of it and let your child choose a special toothbrush or toothpaste. Suddenly it’s a party!
- Speaking of parties, playing a special song or finding a fun video about toothbrushing can make two minutes seem to fly by. Here’s a great Sesame Street video we found:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxMrtK-kYnE.
- Brush with or in front of your toddler. Kids love to imitate their grown ups, so if they can watch you, or an older sibling who has the technique down, they will look forward to learning to do it too! Be sure to get down on their level so they can see exactly what you are doing.
- Once your kids have watched you brush a while, let them take a turn with the brush themselves. Make a game out of sharing the brushing responsibility. This lets them feel in charge but also makes sure their teeth are properly cleaned.
- Some parents like to keep a star chart for kids as they get older. When the stars show your child has brushed twice a day all week, they get a little treat or outing.
The benchmark for allowing a child to brush on her own is when she can tie her own shoes. Until then, she probably doesn’t have the dexterity to brush properly without your help. Be patient with less-than-cooperative kids, remembering that you are setting them up for a lifetime of good oral health.
If you have any questions about brushing, please call our pediatric dental office in Long Island today. We can set up an appointment to teach you and your child the best brushing methods. We love seeing little smiles from Long Island, Westbury, and Nassau County.