Just like getting your kids to eat their veggies, convincing them to brush their teeth can also be difficult. Our Winnipeg dentists are here with tips to help your child develop good oral hygiene habits.
On some days your child may enjoy the brushing experience, but often, they may put up a fight. It is, however, incredibly important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Until your child reaches eight years of age they won't have the proper dexterity to do a good enough job brushing their teeth on their own.
Your toddler's teeth need to be brushed no matter how they feel about the process. You would never leave your child in a dirty diaper just because they give you a hard time, so you should not allow food and plaque to build up on their teeth either no matter if they look forward to the process or not.
There are times when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.
Tip to get your kids excited about brushing:
- Let your child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way for them to enjoy brushing.
- Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush.
- Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. There are companies that make bruhses that can connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
- Offer small rewards for toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favorite book afterward, or holding a special toy. This can both help cooperative children continue to enjoy brushing and give uncooperative children something to look forward to after they're done.
- Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favorite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.
- How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.
If your toddler isn’t impressed with any of these methods, try using a piece of gauze to rub on his teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces just for this purpose. If your dentist recommends using fluoride toothpaste once a day, just a dab is all that is necessary.