Finding ways to help your children to clean their teeth every day can be tricky but necessary because good hygiene is a must for them to have healthy teeth and gums. Other than doing it for them, there are some things you can do to help make sure they develop those habits early on!
It starts when they are just babies. Clean their mouth by wiping their gums after feeding with a soft, damp cloth. When their teeth start coming in, use a baby toothbrush to gently clean their teeth with water, and adding toothpaste later. This gets them in the habit of cleaning their teeth from the beginning.
Once the habit is established, be sure to let them see you doing the same! Younger children learn by mimicking, and will respond well if you display your excitement. You are their first teacher and role model, and in the early years it can be fun to clean your teeth together.
Make this time a fun experience, young children are motivated by fun and pleasure, rather than necessity. It can be fun to sing silly songs, about the “plaque monsters” or fighting the “cavity creatures”. Another fun element to implement is a rewards chart for brushing every day, for at least two minutes. You can give them a playful timer to use. This helps them track their success and allows special rewards to look forward to.
Get them involved from the beginning by letting them pick their own toothbrush from the children’s section in the store. There are themed toothbrushes ranging from cartoon characters like Sponge Bob to Disney characters. Make sure they pick a soft-bristled brush in a size that is right for them.
Find a flavor of toothpaste that your little one will enjoy–there are many kid-friendly, ADA approved kinds available ranging from strawberry to orange and bubblegum.Look for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the label to make sure the toothpaste is both safe and effective.
You can make flossing easier for them by letting them use hand-held flossers. They are easy to use and effective at reaching the back areas where the molars are, which hard to reach, especially in the years that they are still developing their fine motor skills.
Getting your kids to brush and care for their teeth doesn’t have to be a chore. Instill healthy habits early to keep them smiling for a lifetime. Please let us know if you have any questions, or to schedule an appointment, by calling Dr. Holly Sletten’s team at 720-851-1676 today!