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Brushing and flossing twice a day is the baseline for good oral hygiene, and kids need to learn good habits as early as possible if they are to adopt them. Brushing teeth, however, is not always a toddler’s favourite activity first thing in the morning or just before bedtime. So with that in mind, we’ve decided to let you know exactly how to teach kids to brush their teeth with a view to experiencing the path of least resistance from little ones.

 

How To Teach Kids To Brush Their Teeth: The Basic Habits To Learn

oral hygiene kids dentistryWe all learn more about good oral hygiene as we get older, but here are some of the most fundamental dental care tips that all parents should know

It’s never too early to introduce babies to oral care. Your child’s introduction to oral hygiene should begin before his or her first tooth emerges. You can start off by gently brushing your baby’s gums with a soft, clean cloth to remove bacteria. If you start like this, your baby will be less alarmed when you start trying to use a toothbrush.

Make it fun. We can’t stress this enough. Brushing teeth shouldn’t be framed as a chore; it’s a fundamental element of self-care that all children need to be familiar with. Think laterally and let your child watch a cartoon that explains the benefits of teeth brushing, and which is easy for your child to relate to. Search Youtube for a toothbrushing song and play it when it’s time to brush and floss so you can create a positive and pleasant experience. Buy your child a book on brushing teeth. Let your kids see you brushing and flossing your own teeth. Remember: kids do what you do, not what you say.

You should take your baby for a general check up at the dentist when the first tooth emerges. Thereafter, your baby, toddler or child should visit the dentist every six months to ensure that teeth are emerging without any issues and to ensure that any early signs of tooth decay can be addressed.

Let your toddler choose his or her own toothbrush.

Only start using toothpaste when your baby reaches 18 months of age. Until 18 months, you only need to use a soft-bristled brush and water. Between 18 months and six years of age, your child will use a pea-sized drop of low fluoride toothpaste when brushing. After the age of six, your child can start using a pea-sized drop of adult toothpaste to brush.

 

 

How To Teach Kids To Brush Their Teeth: The Basics

Always make sure your baby is comfortable and supported before brushing teeth. Sit down in front of a mirror and basin and place your baby on your lap so that he or she can see their reflection. Be gentle and speak to your baby as you are cleaning their gums and teeth. Clean each tooth as well as the gums on the top and bottom jaw. If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth, schedule a general check up.

You will need to assist and supervise your child’s tooth brushing until around the age of eight, by which time your child will hopefully have mastered the technique to do it on their own. You will probably still have to check up on your child to make sure it is done, and that it is done properly but by the age of eight, your child will have developed the fine motor skill required to hold and manoeuvre a toothbrush.

As soon as your toddler’s teeth start to touch each other, you will need to show your child how to floss. Flossing for children is recommended to be done at night before bedtime and after dinner.

When it is time to progress to brushing teeth with a toothbrush, use small, circular and gentle movements, and make sure that you give each tooth individual attention. Brush both sides of the tooth, as well as the biting surfaces.

Encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out rather than swallow it, but do not encourage rinsing. Rinsing can remove the fluoride.

Continue to take your child for a general check up twice a year. This is especially important to remember because even though the baby teeth will fall out to make way for adult teeth, the condition and health of baby teeth can have an impact on the permanent teeth.

 

To book an appointment for a general check up or for more tips on how to teach kids to brush their teeth, please call us: (03) 8737 9359.

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