Dentists recommend that parents begin brushing their child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. This means you’ll need to start the tooth brushing process long before your kiddo understands its importance. It’s natural for some kids to resist having a foreign object placed in their mouth, especially when they’re teething, but this crucial process will become a breeze with the right tricks.
Here are six tips worth trying.
1. Set Daily Rewards
Kids — and adults — are often motivated by rewards. Depending on your child’s age, you can set daily treats or gifts that your child will receive after brushing their teeth. This should be a simple and inexpensive reward to ensure it’s sustainable. For instance, you could give them a sticker every time they brush their teeth or gift them five more minutes of playtime before school or bed.
If you have an infant or toddler, they may be too young to understand the reward process, so you should add other exciting elements to the routine.
2. Pick a Fun Toothbrush
Research shows that children are more likely to pay attention to products that have their favorite characters. Therefore, parents should splurge and choose colorful child-friendly toothbrushes that depict their child’s favorite cartoon or subject. When a superhero or princess is part of the toothbrushing process, it suddenly becomes more fun for your child.
Make sure you are still choosing a soft-bristled brush that is age-appropriate. Babies may respond better to a damp cloth or silicone finger brush.
3. Practice the Routine With Them
Kids learn through doing, so you should allow your child to practice their tooth brushing routine. You can start with their dolls or stuffed animals to explain the process. When they feel comfortable, they can practice brushing their own teeth with your supervision. Remember that tooth-brushing is a learned skill, and they may drool and squirt out half the toothpaste as they practice independently. While it may be messy to clean up, your child is practicing cavity prevention and forming a healthy oral hygiene routine.
You should continue to supervise your child — and potentially repeat the process — until they are a responsible age. Setting a two-minute timer can also help keep them on track as they work out their own process. You should also teach your child to floss since this is a pivotal part of preventing cavities and gum disease.
4. Make It a Game
The easiest way to make brushing your kiddo’s teeth a breeze is to transform the affair into a daily game or special occasion. Here are X potential activities.
Have Dance Party
Everyone loves a good dance party, so crank up the music and start brushing! As your kiddo dances around, they’ll forget that they’re even brushing their teeth. If you are still brushing for them, encourage them to move their arms to the music, or try bouncing them in your lap. If you choose a song that’s approximately two minutes long, then you’ll have a built-in timer — simply stop brushing when the music stops.
Host Family Competition
Get everyone in the family involved by hosting a friendly competition. To win, see who can brush their teeth for two minutes straight without stopping. Your youngster will love watching everyone in the family participate, plus it’s a chance to make sure your older kids are continuing to brush and floss each day.
Sing a Song
Lullabies can help calm a fussy baby, so consider singing to your child as you brush their teeth. Your soothing voice will help to keep them calm and might even make them smile.
Watch a Video
There are numerous toothbrushing videos posted online. Choose the most enjoyable and exciting one you can find, and encourage your child to follow along. They might even look forward to brushing their teeth if you can find the perfect video.
5. Choose the Right Toothpaste
Kid toothpaste comes in all colors and flavors. If your baby isn’t a fan of the traditional mint variety, give bubblegum or berry a try. Some types even include sparkles or depict cartoon characters. If possible, choose sample or travel size containers so your kiddo can try them all and choose their favorite.
Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste when brushing baby teeth and increase that to a pea-sized amount once the child is 3-years-old. Encourage your youngster to spit out the toothpaste, but rest-assured that swallowing a minuscule amount shouldn’t harm them.
6. Lead by Example
Kids love to imitate their parents, so allowing your child to watch you can make the toothbrushing experience much cooler. Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly and emphasize your movements. Your exaggerated actions will keep your kiddo fascinated, and they’ll be excited to give it all a try too.
These six tips will help to make brushing your kiddo’s teeth a breeze. While each step will make the experience more fun, you should plan to start the process from a young age. The younger you begin brushing your child’s teeth, the easier it will be to form healthy habits. Caring for baby teeth sets the stage for adult teeth, so make sure to emphasize the importance of a daily oral hygiene routine.
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Stacie Connerty lives in Atlanta, Georgia with three teenagers. She has an insatiable love of travel, food and style & fashion. Stacie also loves all things tech, beauty, DIY, home decor, fitness, pet entertaining, and family.
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