13 Dec Tips for Brushing your Toddler’s Teeth
Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to your toddler’s long-term oral health. You can make teeth brushing for kids total child’s play with these tips.
Start a Routine and Stick to It
After a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation) you may be tempted to let your child skip brushing, but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.
Tips to Help Young Children Practice Brushing & Making It A Good Experience:
- Choosing a toothbrush. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed or if you have recently recovered from an illness
- Holding a toothbrush. If the child has trouble holding a toothbrush, try strapping the handle to the child’s hand with a wide rubber band, a hairband, or Velcro. Toothbrushes with thick handles can also be easier for young children to hold on to.
- Brush together: If you always brush your teeth after your toddler has gone to sleep, he or she might start to feel that they’re being punished in some way. Brushing your own teeth at the same time models good dental hygiene and shows your child that they’re not alone in having to brush their teeth. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile.
- Playing Dentist. Kids might not realize that their technique doesn’t work, simply because they haven’t seen it done in front of them. By letting them imitate proper technique on a puppet, doll, or figurine, they can more clearly see the proper way to brush.
- Using toothpaste with fluoride. Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. An adult should always place toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- For children under age 3: Use a small smear of flouride toothpaste (or an amount about the size of a grain of rice).
- For children ages 3–6: Use a pea-size amount of flouride toothpaste.
- If a child cannot spit: Have the child tilt their mouth down so that the toothpaste can dribble out into the sink, a cup, or a washcloth. Since the fluoride in toothpaste is meant to be swishes but not swallowed, make sure to help and watch the child while brushing. Once your child is old enough, tell them to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
- Make brushing 4 minutes of fun. Don’t just set a timer and supervise – make brushing twice a day for two minutes an event! Crank up your toddler’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party. Videos and brushing apps may also make that time fly by (Check out these fun brushing tunes). Whatever you do, get creative, have fun, and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time.
Reward Good Brushing Behavior
What motivates your little one? If your child is a reader, let your child pick out the bedtime book. If it’s stickers, make a reward chart or calendar and let them add one every time your little one brushes. Maybe it’s as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.
Encouraging good dental hygiene now is the key to your child having healthy teeth for their entire lives. If your toddler has never had a dental exam or if it’s been more than a year since he or she last went to the dentist, make an appointment today. The sooner that dental problems, if there are any, are caught and corrected, the easier the whole process will be for both you and your child.
New Brushers Love Our Office
If your child is just beginning to brush, then visit our office. Our team of pediatric dentists in Huntington Beach can teach them how to properly brush, and help them learn about the finer points of oral healthcare. Tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, help your child get a healthy smile by getting into a healthy brushing habit.