Tips for Brushing
Brushing is an essential part of your child’s daily oral care routine. However, at Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry, we know how much of a challenge it can be to get your children to properly brush their teeth, or even get them to the bathroom sink at all. This is why we have compiled a list of tips to help you get your little one up and motivated.
Let Your Child Pick Their Toothbrush
Have you ever stopped to really look at the toothbrushes aimed at children? They are designed to excite your child about brushing, with brightly colored handles, or handles emblazoned with popular kid’s show characters. While it would be easy to grab one that is your child’s favorite color, or has their favorite character on it, why not let your child have a little freedom of choice? By giving your child the independence to choose their own toothbrush, they will be much more likely to be excited to use it, because they picked it out all by themselves. Some children may prefer an electric brush and may make brushing more fun and easier. Many electric toothbrushes have a built in timer which helps your child make sure they are brushing long enough. Just make sure whichever toothbrush your child chooses has soft bristles and a head designed for smaller mouths.
Sing a Song
Kids can sometimes be in a rush to get through their brushing routine. Just like adults, your child should be brushing for two full minutes. Rather than having your child stare at a clock, sing a fun song to mark the time. You can look online for songs about brushing that are meant to be sung in tune with many other popular kid’s songs. Or, you can download an app to your phone.
Read a Story
There are all kinds of books to teach children about different things, from numbers, letters and colors, to how to make friends, and more. There are even books designed to teach kids about the importance of brushing their teeth. These books have fun characters and easy to follow stories with colorful pictures. Add some of these books to your child’s bookshelf and pull them out before it’s time to brush.
Offer a Reward
You don’t have to bribe your child to brush their teeth, but you can offer rewards. Try a sticker chart. Every time your child brushes their teeth, they get to add a sticker. When they have completed an entire week, reward them with their choice of movie for family movie night, or maybe an extra book at bedtime. You could also consider letting your child add up their rewards for an entire month so they can earn a fun trip to the zoo or the aquarium.
Brush With Your Child
Your child watches everything you do, and will learn to mimic your behavior. By brushing your teeth every day, your child sees that this is a normal habit. But it can be boring for a kid to do something by themselves. Brush with your child. Show them how much toothpaste to apply and the proper brushing technique. This will be much more fun for your child. A younger child may need you to go back over their teeth when they are finished. Typically, children can start brushing on their own by the age of 6 or 7, but some children may need assistance until the age of 11 or 12.
Getting your child in the habit of brushing now will set them up for a lifetime of oral health success. If you have any questions or concerns, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today!
We encourage you to pay attention to the type of toothpaste you give small children; fluoride levels vary from product to product.
A pea-sized amount is recommended for children under six years of age, but read the fine print on the tube for recommendations. You should also keep it out of reach; kids are sometimes tempted to eat toothpaste.
Fluoride is helpful in preventing dental caries, but too much can cause defects in the enamel or more serious conditions. Please call our office at (503) 663-8141 if you have questions or are unsure about your child's toothpaste.