Being a parent is the busiest job you’ll ever have! Among the many things you teach your child, it is important to teach them how to maintain good dental hygiene. Our oral health is directly linked to our overall health. To make sure your child’s teeth are healthy, it is advised you ‘start early’. By ‘early’ we mean you start brushing teeth for kids as soon as they erupt so that your toddler gets used to the routine too!
Though some dentists advise you to wait till your child turns 2 or 3 years old, you must begin oral hygiene measures for your child even before their teeth erupt. When your child is still an infant, clean your child’s gums with a soft, damp washcloth after every feeding episode.
Dentists advise the use of baby toothbrush as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. You can use a soft baby brush and place a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste on it for brushing teeth for kids.
But, what happens as your kids grow up? Well, it is not easy to get your kids to brush their teeth, is it? You will have to patiently make your way through a long list of pranks and tantrums of trying to get your child to brush.
If you are wondering how to get your child to brush their teeth, we’ve got a list of things you could try to make your child’s brushing and flossing a fun, regular habit.
- Be a Good Role Model- Whether you accept it or not, you are your child’s first and most important role model. They look up to you for every big or small thing and copy as the parents do. Yes, brushing teeth for kids while they are still very young is expected from parents. But, as they grow up, they need to be taught how to brush their teeth too.
However, just teaching them to brush their teeth isn’t enough to get them to do it. As a parent, you must practise what you preach! When your child sees you brushing and flossing twice a day, he/she is more likely to follow suit and take oral hygiene seriously. It is a great idea to make brushing teeth and flossing a family affair so your child finds it fun yet essential at the same time.
- The Toothbrushing Game- Sometimes, you brushing and flossing your teeth isn’t enough to get your toddler to do so. Many parents, to save time, end up brushing teeth for kids. But, this isn’t the right thing to do.
You must inculcate in your child the importance of brushing their teeth. One interesting and fun way to do this is by making toothbrushing a fun game! Play your toddler’s favourite song while they are brushing and flossing and tell them they must finish brushing right when the song gets over. This way they will spend a good 1-2 minutes brushing their teeth.
Another fun suggestion on how to get your child to brush their teeth is to set up a timer and tell your child that they must finish brushing their teeth by the time the buzzer ticks off!
While these are just suggestions, tap into your creative mind and come up with some exciting games to encourage toddler toothbrushing.
- Reward Your Child: Where there is a game, there must be a reward! And kids love gifts and prizes, don’t they? Every time your toddler brushes his/her teeth, reward them. Instead of brushing teeth for kids, rewards act as a motivation for them to brush by themselves.
You can give them stickers, pocket money, a fun snack the next day, or their choice of a bedtime story. The list of rewards is endless but the end result answers the worry of ‘How to get kids to brush their teeth’ that all parents have.
- A Story Goes a Long Way: Toddlers and young kids are very intrigued by stories. They love being told stories during bedtime or while eating their meals. How about a story while they brush their teeth?
You can tell them stories about their favourite character, or animal or some fantasy characters to that entices them to comply while brushing. This helps when you are brushing teeth for kids while they are still young and even after they grow up, and brush their own teeth.
You could also play a video of your toddler’s favourite character or show while they brush their teeth to get them to do so!
- Make it a Routine: When they are young toddlers, you end up brushing teeth for kids. When they grow older, you make sure they brush their teeth and floss every day. It is this ‘every day’ that makes oral hygiene a routine practise.
Inculcating a habit takes a shorter time when kids are young as compared to doing the same in an adult. No matter if it is a school day, the weekend or a vacation trip, brushing teeth for kids and getting them to brush and floss their teeth must be second nature to both you and your child.
When it becomes a routine, your child is more likely to follow it all throughout their life.
Many homes are witness to the regular tantrums and fights over brushing teeth. But, with some fun ways and right methods, oral hygiene can become a life-long virtue for your child and keep him/her steer clear of tooth problems.
Do not forget to take your child to the dentist when his/her first tooth erupts and thereafter, after every six months!
Have queries about how to brush toddler teeth, how to clean your baby’s teeth or any other related to tooth brushing and flossing? Drop by our Sabka Dentist clinic closest to you and our team of dental experts will help you out!
- Dr. Rupali Gujar Dental Director of Sabka dentist says “Oral hygiene for kids begins in infancy, even before their first teeth appear.”
- Dr. Preethi Nagarajan Dental Director of Sabka dentist says “Brushing teeth for kids when they are toddlers is the best way to set a routine for oral hygiene for the child.”
- Dr. Reena Waghela Dental Director of Sabka dentist says “Being a good role model to your child and practising what you preach goes a long way in developing the habit of brushing and flossing twice a day.”