The oral care routine children must learn involves brushing their teeth, drinking plenty of water, flossing, and going to the dentist every month. It’s never too early to start teaching your kids proper oral hygiene. Once they master it, this routine will become second nature to them.
When should you start brushing your child’s teeth?
Humans are born with 20 primary teeth, also called “baby teeth.” The teeth are buried in their gums until a child starts teething, which is when these teeth begin to surface. You can keep your child’s gums clean before and during teething by massaging their gums with a clean, damp washcloth.
How should you brush your toddler's teeth?
You can start brushing your baby’s teeth when he or she is one or two years old. Brushing their teeth is just like brushing your own, only with some slight differences. Compared to what you use, your child will only need a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Face your child when brushing their teeth. Let them tilt their head slightly backwards and smile. Brush their front teeth with a gentle circular motion, then brush the side teeth. Let them open their mouth afterwards.
Brush the top and bottom parts of their lower and upper rows of teeth, respectively. Gently brush the palate and tongue and tell them to spit out the toothpaste foam. Give them a cup of water and ask them to gargle and rinse. If you see and feel that a tooth or two has already surfaced, you can also floss your child’s teeth after brushing.
How to teach children to brush their teeth
As your child grows, more of their teeth will surface. Their brains are also developing, which means you can teach them to be responsible for their oral hygiene. You might encounter some challenges when you let your child brush and floss their teeth on their own, but the following tips can help ease the turnover of oral care responsibility:
- Bring your child with you when you buy their toothbrush and toothpaste. This will make them emotionally invested and interested in learning to brush their teeth themselves.
- Brush their teeth first, then ask them to brush yours.
- Brush together with your child to set an example.
- Play a two-minute tune from your phone. Tell your child that they will only be done brushing once the music stops.
Expect that your child won’t be able to brush their teeth on their own after just one attempt. You have to be patient. Scolding them will only discourage them from learning how to do it properly. Correct their mistakes gently and kindly while demonstrating the proper way to brush and floss. Keep practising with and encouraging them until they learn to do it right on their own.
What is the best toothbrush for kids?
Your child’s toothbrush should be more than just their favourite colour or cartoon character. More than aesthetics, you should choose one that’s appropriate for your child. It should be the right size and shape for your child’s mouth. The bristles should be soft and flexible so that the brush can clean hard-to-reach areas in their mouth. The bristles should also be durable to prevent breakage.
Your child should start seeing a dentist regularly at six months. A dentist in downtown Ann Arbor can recommend a brush and toothpaste formula appropriate for your child’s age and condition. You can also ask this professional about any other concerns you may have when it comes to your child’s oral health.
If you're looking for affordable dentistry in Ann Arbor, MI, get in touch with us today to see how we can help your children maintain great dental health.