Bedtime seems to be a difficult task for a lot of parents, not to mention brushing your child’s teeth! But, it’s great to be aware of the importance of your child’s dental health! Tooth decay is the main dental problem for preschoolers and the percentages of kids with cavities only increases as they get older. So while dental care may seem unimportant because they’ll lose their baby teeth anyway, decay in baby teeth can lead to dental problems in the future that will have negative effects on permanent teeth. Plus, tooth decay happens faster for children than adults!
So when do you start taking care of your child’s oral health? You need to start taking care of their mouths before they even have teeth! It’s a good idea to wipe off your child’s gums after they’ve eaten with a soft cloth. This can help to eliminate lingering bacteria and helps your baby get used to cleaning his or her mouth. It’s also important that if your child goes to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup, make sure it’s just water because other liquids can cause tooth decay!
What’s the best way to brush? It’s important to start brushing when your child gets their first tooth. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and make sure that all their teeth are brushed thoroughly as well as their gums and tongue. Try to set a routine for brushing twice a day to get rid of germs that cause tooth decay. Once their teeth are touching, start flossing their teeth as well. Be aware that as the parent, you’ll have to brush for your child until they have the coordination to do it themselves.
Nutrition Matters! There are certain foods and drinks that help and hurt your child’s oral health. Sugary, sticky and foods with high carbohydrates are not good for your child’s teeth, especially when they eat them frequently. So try to avoid a lot of crackers, fruit rolls or juice and brush your child’s teeth after they eat them. Some good snacks for healthy teeth are apples, nuts, yogurt, carrots and lots of water!
Get Excited About Brushing! Now that you know that it’s important to take care of your child’s teeth, how do you get them excited about it? Here are some great ideas about making brushing your teeth fun and not a chore!
- Buy a fun, colorful toothbrush- maybe even an electric one
- Replace toothbrushes often, keeping things exciting
- Let them pick their toothpaste so they’ll enjoy the taste (toothpaste designed for kids of course!)
- Let them brush their own teeth first, then finish by doing it correctly for them
- Brush your own teeth while they brush theirs
- Be excited about brushing your own teeth!
- Read some books about brushing your teeth, HERE are a few suggestions
- Let your child brush a doll’s teeth, then their own
- Sing a song while they are brushing so they know how long to brush, or play some music
- Have a rewards chart: HERE are some you can download
Okay parents- What are some fun ways you get your kids to brush their teeth?