TIPS FOR BRUSHING
Helping your child to develop a good oral hygiene routine is essential for their long-term oral health. However, getting them to brush and floss their teeth on a daily basis can be a struggle. We at National Dental East Meadow have put together a list of tips for you, to help you get your little ones motivated to brush their teeth, helping them to prevent cavities and other oral health issues.
LET THEM CHOOSE
Your child’s mouth is small. For this reason, they need a specialized toothbrush with a smaller head and soft bristles. Most children’s toothbrushes are designed in bright colors or colorful cartoon characters from popular kid’s shows. Even if you know your kid’s favorite color or their favorite character, let them pick their toothbrush. By giving them the freedom to choose, they will be much more motivated to use it.
READ TO YOUR KIDS
Reading to your children before it’s time to brush their teeth can be a reward paired with their oral hygiene routine, giving them something to look forward to. There are even kids’ books about tooth brushing and dental care with fun illustrations of teeth. These books are designed to teach your kids the importance of brushing with simple stories that are easy to follow. Add a few to your kid’s book collection and pull them out before it’s time to start brushing.
Just like adults, your kids should be brushing their teeth for at least 2 minutes. To ensure that your kids are reaching the full 2 minutes each time, you can add a little music to their routine. There are several songs about brushing that follow in tune with other popular children’s songs. You may also consider downloading an app on your phone.
MAKE A REWARD CHART
A sticker chart can be an effective way to get your kids motivated to brush. Every time they brush, they get to add a sticker to the day. Offer them a reward for filling up the whole week. Rewards don’t necessarily have to be anything tangible. You can give them a reward such as picking a movie or adding an extra story at bedtime. Alternatively, consider letting them fill up a whole month and taking them to the zoo.
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO
Kids tend to imitate what their parents are doing. Brush your teeth with your kids. Let them watch how you brush your teeth so that they can imitate the behavior. You may also consider letting your child practice on your teeth.
Monitor your kids while they brush their teeth. Help them to apply the appropriate amount of toothpaste. Watch how they brush and make sure they get all areas of their mouths. For younger children, you may need to go back over their teeth to make sure they are thoroughly cleaned, however, the independence to let them brush on their own is important. Around the age of 6 or 7, your child should be able to brush their teeth on their own, but you should keep an eye on them from a distance until the age of 11 or 12.
By helping your child to develop good oral hygiene habits now, you are setting them up for long-term oral health success. For more tips and information on how to get your little ones to brush their teeth, contact National Dental East Meadow today (516) 962-2292.