Good oral habits begin in childhood. Teaching your child how to practice good oral health will help lay a solid foundation for the future. Daily brushing is essential to prevent tooth decay and other oral problems.
It is necessary to brush every day, but it is also vital to do so correctly. Children need to be taught how to properly use their toothbrush, and practice makes perfect.
There is a right way to brush your teeth. Proper brushing technique includes holding the brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum and using small back-and-forth strokes. Begin at the gumline and brush down to the tooth’s chewing surface.
Brush all the tooth surfaces, including the inner and chewing surfaces, and brush the tongue. Turn the brush to a vertical position when cleaning the inner front teeth, and brush each tooth every time. The entire session should take two minutes.
When starting to teach your child about teeth brushing, you should do it yourself. Your little one is too young and lacks the motor skills to do the job effectively. You may need to brush your child’s teeth for several years. You should start cleaning your child’s teeth the moment they erupt. Use a soft infant toothbrush and a small smear of toothpaste. You can begin flossing when the teeth touch.
When your child is old enough to start brushing independently, demonstrate the process yourself. Brushing in front of your child is a way to teach the technique. With each step, tell the child what you are doing and why.
Making the demonstration fun and upbeat will help create a positive experience. Your enthusiasm, even if you must fake it, will rub off on the child, making oral hygiene more exciting.
Help your child hold the toothbrush correctly. Standing in front of the mirror, guide them as they start brushing. Initially, they may not have the dexterity to do it effectively, but with time and practice, they will learn.
Make sure they go over all the tooth surfaces and remind them to spit. If necessary, do a quick follow-up to eliminate lingering plaque. You may need to supervise your child’s brushing until they are about seven or eight.
Using a child-sized toothbrush and kid-friendly toothpaste will make the process much easier. A small brush will fit the child’s mouth comfortably and is easier to maneuver, making the process easier.
A fun-looking toothbrush will get the child excited about the process. The taste of the toothpaste can determine whether your child looks forward to brushing their teeth. Consider using a timer to help the child brush for at least two minutes.
Watching teeth-brushing videos is a great way to teach your child how to brush their teeth. The child can watch the video to learn proper brushing techniques. An online search can reveal numerous teeth-brushing videos. Allow your child to practice on stuffed animals or toy teeth.
Brushing your teeth alongside your child will help teach the importance of oral hygiene. The earlier you start, the better.
For more on teaching kids good toothbrushing habits, visit Pediatric Dental Group at our Honolulu or Lihue, Hawaii office. Call (808) 593-8828 or (808) 245-2131 to schedule an appointment today.