Our last few Lifetime Family Dental Blog posts have been about caring for the teeth of young children. When your child is about six years old, they will be able to begin brushing their own teeth. They’ll continue to need some supervision until they’re about twelve or thirteen years old, but with careful guidance, by that time their good habits should be well established, so they can move into being entirely independent. As a dental office in Gilbert, AZ-teaching your child to brush their teeth is an important part of good parenting skills that help to develop good habits for the future.
First, it’s important that teeth are brushed using proper techniques. The right brushing positions and habits can make all the difference in effectively dealing with bad bacteria and plaque. Conversely, the wrong techniques could miss plaque in certain areas and open the door to the formation of tartar and dental cavities. If you as a parent aren’t sure whether you’re properly brushing your own teeth, here is a link to give you some clarification. And since flossing is also a daily oral care habit that needs to be done correctly for maximum impact, here’s another link for the best flossing techniques. When transitioning to proper brushing techniques for children, the American Dental Association (ADA) has created this great video to explain what works, and how to best instruct them.
Make It Fun
Second, brushing twice a day for two minutes each time could seem like an eternity to a young child. In order to develop a positive mindset that will lead to sustained good habits as they grow older, it’s important not to make tooth brushing or flossing a boring duty. Here is a fun link to seven kid’s songs that are all about two minutes long, just the right amount of time needed for morning and evening brushing routines. Teaching your child to brush their teeth isn’t hard, if you make it a fun activity they’ll enjoy.
In addition to brushing teeth to background music, you could also create a reward system for daily brushing so they’ll feel excited about accomplishing the task. Another idea would be to make brushing a family affair: Mom, Dad, and kids can brush your teeth at the same time as a family activity, with or without songs or music in the background. And to make brushing special, let your child pick out their favorite child-sized toothbrush, with a character or special color and design.
Make it a Routine
Dental hygiene should be a regular, daily morning and evening routine. Set a schedule and stick to it. If you make their oral care part of a set regimen, they will learn by example that brushing and flossing are a normal part of daily life. And by the time they begin moving into their high school years, their dental health will be safeguarded through their own regular at-home care.
In addition, be sure to bring your children to our dental office at least twice each year for a dental checkup and professional cleaning. Teaching your child to brush their teeth is the first step, along with biannual dental checkups. Set your child up to have a successful lifetime of good dental health: train them when they’re young, and they’ll pick up the responsibility of self-care as they mature into adulthood. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ-teaching your child to brush their teeth is essential, because we want to see your family’s teeth stay strong, bright and beautiful—for a lifetime! If you have questions, feel free to contact our office in Gilbert, AZ.