AS PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN, you probably feel like you barely have time to take proper care of your own teeth most days, so wrestling your kids into the bathroom to brush their teeth too can seem close to impossible. Parenting will always have its struggles, but this is one we can help you out with.
Yes, Healthy Baby Teeth Are A Priority
Some parents might mistakenly believe that it isn’t important to take care of their kids’ baby teeth—they’re just going to be replaced in a few years, right? While it’s true that they’ll get their adult teeth eventually, baby teeth serve the important function of setting the spacing for those adult teeth.
It’s better to invest the time it takes to properly care for your children’s teeth now rather than increasing the chances that they’ll need years of expensive orthodontics as teenagers.
Watch the video below to learn how to properly brush your child’s teeth:
Now that we’ve seen the proper technique, how do we get those toddlers to sit still long enough to brush their teeth?
Handy Tricks For Squirmy Toddlers
When it comes to brushing a toddler’s teeth, sometimes things don’t go as planned, but that’s okay! The most important thing is not missing any brushings.
- Don’t feel like you can only brush their teeth in the bathroom. If you have a toothbrush on hand, you can use it wherever you are. It’s easier to ambush the three-year-old when you don’t have to drag him all the way to the sink.
- Out of toothpaste? Brush anyway! Maybe you can’t find it one day, maybe you ran out, or maybe the entire bottle was used to make a portrait on the bathroom mirror or floor. Just brush their teeth without toothpaste until you can restock.
- Encourage them to “brush” a toy’s teeth if they’re too young to brush their own teeth without help but old enough to understand what a toothbrush is for. Help your kids see how important dental hygiene is by having them take care of their favorite toy’s smile! Use an old toothbrush and skip the water and toothpaste.
- Play fun music or use an hourglass to get them to that two-minute goal. These might work better than a digital timer.
- Brush in front of the mirror. Instead of parking them on the toilet to get them to hold still, let your child see the toothbrushing process in the mirror, like they will when they can do it themselves. They’ll feel much more involved this way, and they won’t associate brushing with using the potty.
- Treat brushing like a priority. Don’t act impatient about it around your kids, or they’ll get the message that brushing is an inconvenience.
- Have fun! Brushing shouldn’t feel like a punishment for them. Even if they sometimes make the process difficult for you, the more you can act like brushing their teeth is fun, the happier they’ll be to cooperate!
Building A Life-Long Habit
Brushing your children’s teeth is about instilling them with good habits they’ll maintain for the rest of their lives. Do you have a good tooth-brushing routine already? We’d love to hear about it. Otherwise, let us know which of these strategies helped you and your kids the most!
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Top image by Flickr user Abigail Batchelder used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.