In our home some mornings are a juggle trying to get out of the house! Between getting ready for work, feeding and dressing two active toddlers for school - who has time to brush their teeth? Now that they are old enough to run when they see me coming with the tooth brush my husband and I realized it was time to create a better system to keep their teeth clean and cavity free…and us sane!
Even before the new teeth start to pop in the mouth parents can get babies used to getting their mouths brushed. A moist cloth or a soft finger toothbrush can be used to clean a baby’s gums or tongue after every feeding. No toothpaste is needed at this stage. Once the teeth start to grow in you can transition to a toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste.
|Toothbrushes come is many shapes and sizes, look for toothbrushes with small heads that are soft bristled.|
If you walk by the dental aisle at your local supermarket you may become overwhelmed by the large selection of toothbrushes. Hard, medium or soft bristles? Electric or manual toothbrushes? The key to selecting a toothbrush for a toddler or child depends on the age. It’s better to select a toothbrush (whether electric or manual) with a smallhead, this make brushing more comfortable for your little one. As your child grows, the size of the toothbrush head can also grow. Bristles should be soft (or ultra-soft) so as to not damage a child’s delicate gums. Kids often will struggle with tooth brushing if they do not like the taste of the tooth paste, so try different fluoride toothpaste until you find the right one! Once kids are older a pea size amount (not a ribbon!) of tooth paste should be used and wipe out the excess toothpaste with a towel or cloth.
Sesame Street’s Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me has many songs such as Elmo's Brushy Brush sone to make brushing fun.
When kids are 2 to 3 years old they may start to exert their independence by wanting to dress or brush their own teeth or even refuse to brush at all. Don’t let brushing become a power struggle! Turn things around by turning brushing into a game by singing a song or reciting the ABC’s Have older kids listen to a song while they brush for the recommended 2 minutes twice a day.
Parents should brush their children’s teeth until they are 7 to 8 years for 2 minutes a
day in the morning and at bedtime.
Parents should allow their kids to practice brushing their teeth so they learn. But they
need to follow up by brushing before or after.
Model good behavior: brush and floss as a family
A parent is a child’s first teacher and one of the most influential. The behaviors we instill in our kids through childhood routines carry over into adulthood. When a parent shows their kids that they take care of their own teeth by daily brushing and flossing they are more likely to have a positive influence on their child’s future oral health.
The key to successfully implementing any new routine is consistency. Once your kids realize they are not getting out of it you will avoid a lot of the tears and arguments over brushing. And hopefully avoid the cavities too!!!