Helping your toddler learn how to brush at an early age will instill healthy oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. These early taught lessons can be the difference between a lifelong beautiful smile or a costly one.
Most chores to kids are not fun and unfortunately brushing and flossing can be at the bottom on the list of favorites.
Make it exciting
To make any boring chore fun it’s a good idea to incorporate some excitement! Make a game out of it, sing a song, make noises when they reach a spot that’s typically skipped over, or ring a bell when they’ve done a good job. Most children respond to positive praise so the more clapping, cheering, and smiling you do the more it will encourage them to keep going!
For some kids a rewards system might work better. What kid doesn’t love stickers? One idea is to create a brushing chart and each time they brush they get a sticker and once they get several stickers (whatever you think is the best amount) then they can have a small toy, special treat or visit the dollar store. For example you can let them stay up a little later, take them on a trip to their favorite park, or extend a reading of their favorite book. If they perform consistent dental hygiene for a long period of time you can make a goal of visiting the zoo or a movie they would like.
This new routine may take your child a while to adjust to, which can get frustrating. Try to be patient and remember consistency is best. Brushing at the same time every day is best when trying to create a new routine.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends brushing your children’s teeth as soon as they start to come in. In the infant stage wipe the gums off with a warm wash cloth after breast or bottle feeding. Once more teeth start to appear use a soft bristled brush and a rice sized smear of toothpaste. Let them brush first and when they are finished help get the spots that they are unable to reach.
Establishing your child with a dentist by the time they reach twelve months in age is extremely important. At this age one dental visit we will help parents to learn the best ways to prevent decay and tips for good oral health. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to ask questions and get more educated on early dental hygiene habits for your child.
As always if you have any questions regarding brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene in your toddler feel free to call us, we are happy to help!