Caring for a child’s primary teeth not only helps prevent decay and disease that can damage secondary teeth, but early care can also help build good habits that will stick with your child throughout their life. Getting your child to brush and floss his/her teeth on their own can be challenging, however. Here we will give you some ideas and tips to make the task a little easier.
Leading by Example
The first step to teaching good teeth cleaning habits is to lead by example. When you brush your teeth in the morning or evening, have your kids around. Kids sometimes naturally like to emulate what their parents are doing. Have a regular schedule where you can all brush at the same time. If you are lucky, they may even remind you when you forget a brushing session.
Setting a Timer
The recommended two minutes of brushing can seem like an eternity for a young child. Having a timer and setting it to some fun music may give them a challenge they want to complete.
Make it Rewarding
Rewarding your child for cleaning their teeth with sweets would defeat the purpose of proper brushing, of course. But there are many other rewards you can give them to keep them motivated. Do they have a book or movie they really want to read/watch? Do they like to visit certain places or have interest in a particular line of toys? A little bribe can go a long way. Just make sure not to make it expected by spacing out the rewards. A reward chart might work so they have a goal to work towards and also track how many times they have brushed.
Let them Choose their Products
Not all toothpastes or toothbrushes are created equal. If the toothpaste tastes bad to your child, he/she is unlikely to want to brush their teeth. Take them to the store to pick out a toothbrush and get some sample-sized tubes of toothpaste. Giving them control over the products they use can provide the motivation they need.
Make sure they are doing it right
Getting your child to clean their teeth on their own, of course, is just part of the challenge. You want to make sure they are doing it right. Help them by showing how to reach the back as well as the front teeth and that they aren’t missing parts or spending too little time on a section.
Good habits early on will ensure your child’s teeth have the best health later. If you have questions about teeth cleaning routines for your child, Dr. Lisi at Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Allen will answer all your questions and concerns. Please call 972-727-0011 to schedule a consultation.
Further Reading on Teeth Cleaning