Kids aren’t known for their patience which is part of what it takes to teach kids to brush their teeth the right way.
These five tips will not only help you teach them how to brush their teeth, but to have some fun while they do it right!
1. Teach Kids to Brush Their Teeth Early
Teaching kids to brush their teeth correctly can start when they’re babies. After each feeding, rub a clean cloth over a baby’s gums to keep plaque from hanging around.
Once teeth appear as your baby grows and develops, use a small toothbrush in the morning and the evening to help teach kids to brush their teeth.
Toothpaste isn’t necessary for younger children at this stage, but there are special kinds of toothpaste available to help them get used to the idea of using it.
If you live in an area of the country that requires a fluoride supplement, this is a great time to instill this habit as you teach kids to brush their teeth.
The habit of taking care of teeth correctly will be firmly established as your children develop into preschoolers.
As you teach kids to brush their teeth, they will learn that in your family, teeth are brushed twice a day with soft-bristled toothbrushes that are replaced every three months. Floss can also be introduced at this stage, cleaning out plaque from in-between teeth.
As kids grow and develop, it’s important that you’re teaching kids to brush their teeth correctly. Even school-aged kids need guidance and help brushing and flossing correctly in order to take proper care of their teeth.
2. Fight the Plaque Monsters
The formation of plaque on our teeth is what causes cavities and leads to gum disease, which is why it’s so important to teach kids to brush their teeth correctly.
My boys – ages eight and five – love to hear about how when they eat, bacteria come out to play on their teeth, forming plaque monsters that rot their teeth. My kids imagine that when they brush their teeth, they’re fighting the plaque monsters – also known as “bad guys” – and saving their teeth!
Kids need to know that taking care of their teeth is important, and that there are long-term consequences if they don’t.
The “Plaque Monster” explanation might work for your kids too, but if it doesn’t, find one that helps explain the importance of taking proper care of while you teach kids how to brush their teeth.
3. Best Brushing Techniques
It’s important to establish an everyday family routine when you teach kids brush their teeth. While you teach kids to brush their teeth properly, make sure that your children brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and evening.
Show your kids how to brush all surfaces of their teeth with a soft-bristled brush, including the area along the gumline.
Plaque monsters like to hang out in-between teeth and in other hard-to-reach areas. This means that it’s important for your kids to practice flossing once a day, in addition to the times you teach kids to brush their teeth.
As your kids grow and develop, schedule visits to the dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups.
4. Make Brushing Teeth Fun!
Modeling and discussion through play is a great way to help children establish healthy habits as you teach kids to brush their teeth and take care of them.
To help small children especially, find a doll and have your child “brush” the doll’s teeth, discussing with your child what he or she is doing, and review the basics about how to brush properly. Use picture books and DVDs at your local library which reinforce the basics of good oral hygiene.
Teaching your kids how to brush their teeth can be more fun when kids feel like they have choices in the process. Since it’s essential that kids brush their teeth twice a day, give them choices in other areas, which can include:
- the color of the toothbrush they use, including specialty ones with favorite characters, toothbrushes that light up, or those that have a motor
- two or three toothbrushes to choose each time your kids brush their teeth
- plastic cups used for rinsing that stay in the bathroom
- fun floss colors and flavors
- tooth paste varieties that appeal to kids
While you’re teaching your kids to brush their teeth, let your child put the toothpaste on the brush, emphasizing that the toothpaste should be the size of a pea.
When you’re first teaching your children how to brush their teeth, take turns to make sure they’re brushing all surfaces of their teeth twice a day.
5. Get Help from the Dentist As You Teach Kids To Brush Their Teeth
It’s not necessary to teach kids to brush their teeth correctly on your own – get help from your dentist.
Like adults, children need to visit the dentist every six months for regular cleanings and checkups. Take children to the dentist when they’re two or three years old to get them used to the friendly staff, the office, the chair, and the unusual lights and sounds.
The initial dental visit will help your children get used to the new environment, and the second visit will include the visual exam and cleaning. Many dental professionals make kids’ visits fun by offering special treats, like balloons, pencils, erasers, and special tooth brushes and floss products to make brushing teeth more fun.
When you’re teaching your kids to brush their teeth, the staff at your dentist’s office will give you the help you need. During your children's dental visits, the dentist and dental hygienist will take time to review with your children the best ways to brush and floss their teeth.
Sometimes hearing information from other authoritative sources makes more of an impact on children – I know it works with mine! The repetition and practice will help my kids have healthy teeth for years to come, and make it easier to teach my kids how to brush their teeth properly.
Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and freelance writer. Visit Dr. Lance Heppler, a Dentist In Vancouver , WA for more on how to teach kids to brush their teeth.