Looking after your child’s teeth, from that first tiny tooth, will lay the foundations for good oral care and general health as they grow up.
Brushing a baby’s teeth can be simple and stress-free – but when it’s they become toddlers that can make it tricky. ‘I don’t want to brush my teeth’ or ‘I want to do it myself’ are all too common phrases heard in households everywhere.”
Here is my advice to help parents achieve a healthy dental regime with their toddlers:
Be enthusiastic: If you make brushing a chore, then kids will generally feel the same about it. Be positive about the prospect of brushing and do your own teeth at the same time. Kids learn by example so if you’re happy, they should be happy too.
Don’t give over control: Toddlers want to be independent and will try to insist on brushing their own teeth. However, children don’t possess the dexterity to brush their own teeth until about six years old. Keep hold of the brush for as long as you can, at least until they have a lot of practice under their belts. Letting them put toothpaste on their own brush can give them a sense of control.
- Top Tip – if you struggle to see inside your child’s mouth when brushing, lay them on the floor with their head on your lap. It will give you a better view and easier brushing.
As they get older: Helping children to brush their own teeth as they get a little older can be a tough negotiation. Try to help by gently guiding their hand, brushing each tooth properly and for the recommended two minutes. Once they are able to brush their own teeth, supervision is key as many children will give their teeth a quick ‘once over’ before rushing off to play.
Make it fun: There is a huge variety of fun toothbrushes with lights and sounds, smart phone apps with brushing songs and interesting two minute timers on the market. Using props like this can really engage a child’s imagination and attention – hopefully making the routine more fun and less stressful!
Don’t forget the Tooth Fairy: Teach your children about the Tooth Fairy so that when they lose their first baby tooth, it is an exciting moment, not one to be feared. Educate them that she loves healthy teeth and always leaves a present under the pillow (and then don’t forget to do this!).
Vitality’s dental therapists have been specifically trained in looking after the dental health of children of all ages. We can support parents to help their children with good oral hygiene, plus they get to sit in the big chair and get a sticker!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Arvin Mirzadeh is from Vitality, a state-of-the-art boutique dentist located in Pulborough, West Sussex.
Vitality provides a range of first-class dental treatments for patients of all ages, from dental health checks to cosmetic treatments including teeth whitening, implants and veneers.