Just like when you are trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables, getting them to brush their teeth every day can be difficult. With that being said, helping your child to form good oral hygiene habits while they are young is incredibly important. Here are some tips from our Summerside dentists.
On some days your child may enjoy the brushing experience, but often, they may put up a fight. It is very important that your kid has their teeth brushed at least twice each day. Until your child is about 8 years old, they probably won't have the dexterity to do a good enough job of brushing their teeth on their own, so until then, you will have to do it for them.
The thing to keep in mind is that tooth brushing needs to happen, regardless of whether your kid is looking forward to the experience or not. You wouldn't let you child sit in a soiled diaper just because they don't want it to be changes, so likewise, you shouldn't allow food and plaque to sit in your kid's teeth because they don't want to brush them.
With all of that being said, our dentists know that there are times when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.
Here are some tricks to get your kids excited about brushing:
- Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush.
- Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing.
- Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favourite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
- Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
- How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.
- Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favorite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.
If your child isn't impressed with any of the above methods, try to use a piece of gauze to rub on their teeth. There are some pre-formed pieces of gauze that you can actually purpose for this very purpose. If your dentist started recommending that you begin using flruoide toothpaste for your child's smile, only a small dab will be necessary.