Whether your children are two or twelve, getting them to take care of their teeth can seem like a never-ending battle. To make sure that your children take care of their teeth the way that you and your Idaho Falls orthodontist would like to see them take care of those pearly whites, we’ve rounded up some tips to make it a whole lot easier for you.
These tips can be used for children with and without braces.
Like any good habit that takes time, the earlier you start teaching your children about dental hygiene, the better. Most dentists agree that it is never too early to start brushing and flossing your children’s teeth. Many dentists will recommend that you begin to get your child into the habit of brushing and flossing in the morning and at night when their first tooth arrives.
To take an even more proactive approach, when your child is still an infant, use a soft damp cloth to wipe down their gums every night, switching to a toothbrush as their teeth begin to erupt. Flossing can occur when the teeth start to touch (usually around 2 or 3 years old).
After your child’s first birthday, you can even schedule an appointment with their dentist just to get them used to the idea of seeing a dentist regularly.
Get Them Involved
From choosing the toothbrush and toothpaste they want to use, to helping you prepare healthy meals that aid in proper nutrition and proper dental hygiene, involving your children in all of these processes will make them more likely to want to brush and floss their teeth. It will also help them to choose foods and beverages that will keep their smiles looking beautiful and healthy for years to come.
Lead By Example
In addition to getting them involved in the process of dental hygiene, being a good example of proper oral hygiene habits is critical to their own habits and views of dental hygiene. Kids learn by example, so let’s make sure that what you’re teaching them is the right way to brush your teeth*:
- Start by holding the brush at a 45-degree angle.
- Gently brush the teeth with short circular motions, cleaning the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces.
- Remember to brush your tongue too.
*If your kids have braces and you don’t, have your Idaho Falls orthodontist show them how to properly brush and floss their braces and teeth. Make sure you are present when the orthodontist gives the demonstration so that you can help to correct at home.
Help younger children brush and floss to make sure that all teeth are cleaned. Once you feel good about how your children are brushing and flossing their teeth at night, you can let them do it on their own with only a few checks here and there as needed.
Make It Fun
Even as adults, brushing and flossing our teeth doesn’t seem like the most thrilling event and the same is true for our kids. The good news is, is that there is no reason that we can’t find ways to make it fun!
A simple way to add more joy to the “chore” of brushing your teeth is to add their favorite music or video into the mix. There are some perfectly timed pieces that last two minutes that will help the time fly by. Here is a great kids’ brushing teeth video that you can try the next time you’re helping your littles brush their teeth.
A couple of other ways to make brushing your children’s teeth more entertaining for them and you include:
- Tell a story. Use their favorite character or make one up and tell an engaging story while they brush.
- Offer rewards. These don’t need to be toys and shouldn’t be candy, but things like choosing the next movie on family movie night or what park to go to that day are fun rewards.
- Make it a family event. Brush your teeth with your children, it will make it just one other way during your day that you spend time with each other.
Do you still need help? We are here for you, call our Idaho Falls orthodontist office for additional tips, and keep your children’s teeth healthy and happy by building a good oral hygiene routine at home.