Tips for Brushing
Just like you, your child needs to brush their teeth at least twice a day. This helps to prevent the development of cavities and other oral health issues. However, some children are rather resistant to brushing, and getting them to the bathroom to do so can be challenging. At National Dental Melville, we have put together a list of tips on how to make the process easier, helping your child to maintain a healthy mouth.
Picking the Right ToolHow long do you spend picking out your toothbrush? There’s a good chance that it’s not very long. When you look at the toothbrushes for kids, you will be overwhelmed with bright colors and all kinds of popular cartoon characters. You could buy one for your child that you know is their favorite color, or has their favorite character on it, but they still might not use it. Instead of picking out your child’s toothbrush for them, why not let them pick it themselves? By giving your child the freedom and responsibility to pick their very own toothbrush, they will be much more likely to want to use it. Just make sure that whichever brush they choose, it has soft bristles and a small head.
Sing a SongYour child should be following the same guidelines of brushing twice a day for at least two minutes. However, two minutes can feel like an eternity for a child. Instead of having them stare at a clock, try singing a song. You can go online and find songs designed for brushing that will last two minutes. Most are sung in tune with other popular kid’s songs. You can also download apps on your smartphone that will play music and time your child’s brushing.
Read a BookThere are numerous kid’s books available that teach your kid about different situations. Next time you’re at the bookstore, check out books about brushing. There are several books about the importance of brushing and how to properly brush your teeth. The books contain colorful characters that your child is sure to love. Before it’s time to brush, pull one of these books off your child’s shelf and have a reading session.
Try a Reward ChartWhat kid doesn’t like stickers? Start a reward chart for your child. Every time they brush, they put a sticker on the chart. At the end of the week, they can cash their stickers in for a prize. It doesn’t have to be something tangible. Instead, try rewarding with their choice for movie night, or an extra book at bedtime. You could even consider letting your child save up their stickers and cash them in at the end of the month for a trip to a local museum, zoo, or aquarium.
Brush with Your ChildYour child watches everything you do. If you brush your teeth regularly, they will see that it is a normal habit, and be more likely to pick up on it. Why not try brushing with your child? You can show them the appropriate amount of toothpaste to put on their brush, as well as the proper technique. Younger children may need you to go over their teeth a second time, but the independence to brush on their own is important. Children should be closely monitored until the age of 6 or 7, by which time they can usually brush on their own. They should, however, continue to be monitored from a distance until they are about 11 years old.
Fostering healthy brushing habits now will go a long way in helping your child to develop good oral hygiene habits into adulthood. For more information, or if you have any questions or concerns, call National Dental Melville today at (631) 816-2277.