Once your child has started to get their first teeth, you might feel a bit lost as to how you are going to successfully help them take care of their teeth all by themselves everyday. Here are four easy things you can do to get your kids comfortable with brushing their own teeth everyday:
Start Early: Pediatric dentists encourage starting to clean your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes in, and even before by gently wiping gums with a clean cloth. By making “brushing” apart of their daily lives for as long as they can remember, it will be much easier to transition to a routine where your kids take care of their own teeth.
Give Them Options: Kids love to feel like they are in control and getting to have a say in what’s going on. They might not get to choose “no brushing” as an option, but you can let them pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste. With lots of tooth care products featuring popular cartoon characters and fun designs, it will be easy for your toddler to find one they love and make them that much more excited about brushing!
Encouragement: Sometimes it’s the simple things that make all the difference. When your child first starts brushing on their own, make sure they are using proper technique (reaching all sides of the teeth and using soft circling motions) but also compliment them on what a good job they’re doing and how proud you are. That little bit of positive reinforcement could be enough to make them want to do it everyday all on their own.
Play Games: Your child should be brushing their teeth for a minimum of two minutes at a time, that’s two minutes you can be using to have fun. Some parents have found success by playing music, trying to see who can make the most bubbles with their brushing, or even dancing while you clean your teeth. In the very beginning, it’s also a good idea to play “mime” by getting down at your child’s level, brushing your own teeth, and having them mimic your movements.