Happy Mouths, Happy Kids

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How to Get Your Child to Brush Their Teeth

Children often seem resistant to habits that are in their best interest. However, we have a number of ways to help your kids learn to brush and floss regularly, as well as to enjoy the process. Our experienced dentists, Dr. William Chan and Dr. Denise Goodman, recommend children begin brushing and flossing on their own at the age of 6. Between the ages of 2 and 6, you should do the brushing for them, taking the time to explain what you’re doing, advising them on the correct techniques, and engaging them in the process. This is an excellent opportunity to bond with your little one and to make routine oral hygiene a fun, loving experience. Three times daily the teeth should be brushed: once after breakfast, once after lunch, and again after dinner before bedtime. Flossing should occur once a day.

The sooner you begin good habits, the more likely they’ll naturally stick.

Brush and Floss Your Teeth with Your Children

Kids often model their habits after their parents. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to get your child interested in brushing and flossing is to perform the routine alongside them. If the parents have excellent oral hygiene habits, the kids often will too.

Don’t Tell Them Scary Stories About the Dentist

It may seem tempting to warn the children that they could get caries (cavities) and damage if they don’t brush, and that they’ll then be forced to endure an uncomfortable procedure at the dentist. Kids that are afraid of the dentist are often less cooperative about oral hygiene on the whole, rather than more so. They may also put up a fuss about dental appointments in the future, as they may fear visiting the dentist.

Provide Positive Reinforcement

Bribery isn’t necessary for good brushing behavior. Offering your young ones affection and compliments for a job well done is often enough to make them want to maintain healthy habits. Watch them brush, gently correct any errors in technique, and provide plenty of warm compliments each time they complete the task.

In general, we recommend using soft circles with a soft-bristled brush to massage the teeth and gums, from the top down. You should brush the teeth three times daily for two minutes each time. Feel free to give the child a (kid-safe) hourglass or a stopwatch to mark the time, or to utilize an electric toothbrush with an included timer, to help keep track. If you have questions about technique, we will be happy to show you during your visit or explain it over the phone.

For more information about pediatric brushing and flossing tips, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with our of our dentists, please contact our office today.