How to get your Child to Brush their Teeth
Daily oral hygiene is essential in preventing tooth decay. Learning how to brush, and starting to brush early, will play a big part in helping to ensure children experience less tooth decay and gum disease.
Start Brushing Early
- As soon as teeth appear (on average around 6 months of age), start brushing with a small soft-bristled children’s or baby’s toothbrush. Use a clean baby facecloth to gently wipe gums where teeth are not present. Wipe and brush gently after each feeding if possible.
- Practice regular morning and bedtime brushing routines with your toddler.
- Establishing this early routine will prepare your child for visits to the dentists while simultaneously creating good oral hygiene habits at home.
Brush the Right Way
- Choose a soft, small, circular brush head
- Going from gums to tooth, perform gentle circular motions with the toothbrush.
- Brush every tooth, including the molars in the back. Molars are most forgotten which often results in them having tooth decay.
- If flossing, do it first and then follow with brushing. This will allow the toothbrush to clear any dislodged food or debris from between the teeth and provide fluoride to all surfaces.
- Use small amounts of fluoride toothpaste, e.g., rice grain size for children under three years and pea size for children over three years old.
- Brush for at least two minutes. Use an egg timer, phone timer, app, or sandglass and allow your child to set it.
Have Fun with It!
- Lead by example and make brushing your teeth a family activity. Brush your own teeth along with your child and other family members twice a day. Show your child that good oral health is an important habit the whole family takes part in.
- Allow your child to choose their own child-themed toothbrush or favourite flavour of children’s toothpaste.
- Choose a children’s toothcare song or hum a favourite nursery rhyme whilst brushing teeth.
- Read children’s books on brushing teeth, visiting the dentist and other related topics with your child, and talk about the story when brushing your teeth together.
- Download a kid-friendly app like “Brush DJ” and let your child choose a two-minute song to help them practice brushing for two minutes.
- Use a reward system, e.g., your child can collect stickers on a chart and choose a reward at the end of the week.
Remember to do a quick check of their teeth after brushing, and always praise your child’s efforts after they have brushed. Remember that positive reinforcement goes a long way to creating healthy habits and good oral hygiene!