TIPS FOR BRUSHING
Brushing is an essential habit to foster in your child. Without proper care, your child is at risk for developing serious oral health problems, like cavities and gum disease. However, getting your child to brush their teeth can prove to be a challenge. There are so many other things they would prefer to do! At National Dental Douglaston, we have gathered up a few tips to get your child brushing now, which will help to ensure a healthy mouth all the way into adulthood.
PICKING THE RIGHT TOOL
The best type of toothbrush to use for little teeth is one that has a small head (designed for small mouths) and soft bristles. Children’s toothbrushes come available in all kinds of bright colors and cartoon characters. However, by giving your child the freedom to choose their toothbrush, they are much more likely to want to brush their teeth. If the toothbrush displays a cartoon character they like, you’ll see an improvement in your child’s motivation.
READ BOOKS TOGETHER
Children’s books cover numerous topics. One topic some children’s books cover is brushing. These books have easy to follow storylines with fun characters that your child can identify with. They show the importance of brushing in a way that your child understands. Try creating a habit where you read one of these books before sending your kid into the bathroom to brush.
SET UP A STICKER CHART
Some children respond well to a reward chart. Set up a calendar, or a chart of some kind, where your child adds a sticker to the given day each time they brush their teeth. At the end of the week, if they have brushed their teeth the necessary amount of times, offer a reward. These rewards don’t have to be tangible. Other things like an extra half an hour of television on the weekend, or an extra story at bedtime. Alternatively, you can let your child collect a month’s worth of good brushing, and take them to a zoo or aquarium.
Two minutes can feel like an eternity when you’re brushing your teeth, especially for children. Kids would much rather be doing just about anything else. You can look up songs for brushing that follow the tunes of other popular children’s songs. There are also apps that you can download on your phone that will play music while your child brushes.
BE A ROLE MODEL
Whether you believe it or not, your child wants to imitate you and often does. By brushing your teeth regularly, especially when your child brushes theirs, you are setting a fantastic example for good oral health. Show them how you brush your teeth and have them mimic you.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THEM
Your child should be monitored while they brush their teeth. Help them to apply the appropriate amount of toothpaste. Watch them as they brush to make sure they get all of the surfaces of their teeth, and that they are holding the toothbrush correctly. You may have to go over their teeth for them when they are finished, to be sure all areas have been cleaned. Your child should be able to brush their teeth by the age of 6 or 7, but they should still be monitored from a distance until the age of 10 or 11.
By helping your child develop good oral hygiene practices now, you can help to foster good habits that will provide them with excellent oral health for years to come. Contact National Dental Douglaston at (718) 557-9882 to learn more!