6 Tips For Brushing Your Kids’ Teeth
A common question we hear at Spokane Dental is, "How do I get my kids to brush their teeth?" It can feel like an impossible task to get your kids to brush their teeth and when they do, to get them to do it properly... In this post, we will dive into 6 tips for accomplishing the impossible!
Be An Example
Make sure your kids see YOU brushing and flossing, and talk to them about your oral health.
The American Dental Association recommends starting to clean your child’s mouth as an infant. With a clean moistened washcloth, gently wipe your baby’s gums to get your child used to “brushing”. As soon as your baby has a tooth, start brushing with an infant toothbrush (you can find in the dental aisle at a pharmacy or grocery store: they are marked by age and have a small head and extra soft bristles). As soon as a tooth appears, a cavity can occur. It is so important to prioritize oral health at a young age.
If your kids are old enough to ask why they have to brush their teeth, they are old enough for an answer! Dental hygienists often explain it this way to young kids: “There are tons of tiny sugar bugs in your mouth that are so small we can’t even see them! The sugar bugs eat the food on our teeth, and then poop on them! They especially love sugary foods like candy and juice. The sugar bugs’ poop has acid that makes holes in our teeth, giving us ouchy cavities!”
If your kids are older, you can explain it the same way minus the silliness: “The bacteria that lives in our mouth thrive on consuming the food we eat, and their byproduct (waste) is acidic and eats away at our teeth, causing painful cavities.”
However you explain it, be sure and stress that preventive dental care will save them pain and discomfort down the road.
Make Brushing Fun
Let your kids pick out toothbrushes and toothpaste, and get floss in a fun flavor. If your children are young, sing silly songs when you brush their teeth, or make a game of brushing off those pesky sugar bugs.
Hold them Accountable and Give them Incentive
However you choose to do this one: it is important! You can put a timer in the bathroom to make sure your kids are brushing the full two minutes. If you have a teen, remind them of the stinky breath and yellowing teeth associated with poor dental care, not to mention painful cavities and long dental visits. If your children are young consider a sticker chart, or use mealtime to talk about brushing: “You haven’t been doing a good job brushing lately. I think you can start having candy, dessert, or whatever when you show me you can protect your teeth against sugar by brushing.” The important thing is to get your kids brushing, so be creative with how that works best for your family.
Lastly, Make it a Habit!
If children brush their teeth or get them brushed morning and night everyday when they are young, chances are they will keep that habit as they grow without even thinking about it.
At Spokane Dental, we love seeing your kids! We want to equip your whole family to have the best oral health possible. Dr. Smith and the team would love to answer any questions you may have and help you make a homecare strategy for you and your kids during your visit!