Start teaching the importance of brushing at an early age.
The best way to form good habits is by learning them early, and the best way children learn is by having a routine. Get them in the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day every day early on in their life for a better chance at great oral habits throughout their lives.
What is the best equipment to use when brushing your teeth?
Most dentists, like Dr. Jeff, recommend using a soft bristled toothbrush when you brush your teeth. There are children’s sized toothbrushes and adult sized toothbrushes. The biggest difference between an adult’s and a child’s toothbrush is the size of the head. A child’s toothbrush has a smaller head, which allows it to be maneuvered around the child’s mouth easier than an adult sized toothbrush.
When it comes to toothpaste, dentists recommend a brand that has fluoride added to it because fluoride is a mineral that helps to build the enamel of the teeth. Dentists also recommend looking for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal on both your toothpaste and toothbrush because it means those are the brands most dentists recommend.
What is the proper way to brush your teeth?
Once you have an appropriately sized toothbrush and recommended toothpaste, now you are ready to brush your teeth. A small child only needs to use the amount of toothpaste equivalent to a grain of rice, while older children and adults need to use the amount of toothpaste equivalent to the size of a pea.
Once the proper amount of toothpaste is on the toothbrush, use small, circular strokes to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the front and back. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle for the best reach. Make sure to go tooth by tooth, ensuring each one gets the same attention. The act of brushing the teeth should take at least two minutes each time a person brushes.
Teach the 2 and 2 rule.
Dr. Jeff and his team recommend everyone brush their teeth at least twice a day and for two minutes at a time. The length of time that you brush is important to maintain. For children learning to brush their teeth, try using a timer on an iPad or an old-fashioned egg timer so children can track their progress. You can also find a silly song or video, like this one, that is at least two minutes long that you and your child can watch while brushing their teeth—then they’ll know that when the song or video is over, it’s time to rinse!
If your child is having a hard time brushing their teeth for two minutes, look into an electric toothbrush that has a two-minute timer on it. This can help your child keep brushing until their two minutes is up.
Children learn best with a routine, so work to have your children brush their teeth at the exact same time every day. Maybe you both brush your teeth after breakfast at 7:30 a.m. every day, and then move on to the next activity of the day. At night, maybe it will help to brush their teeth at 8 p.m. before bed, then settle in with a bedtime story. If you want to make the routine stick, set daily alarms, so that your child knows it is time to brush their teeth when the alarms go off. The idea is to make things routine, and have toothbrushing become a habit that your children don’t even have to think about.
Good habits begin early.
It’s never too early to get your child used to brushing their teeth. In fact, many dentists recommend cleaning a newborn’s gums with a soft washcloth. Using a moist, clean washcloth that is warm, parents can gently massage along their baby’s gums to get them used to the feeling of something in their mouth.
Those habits can continue when your baby starts teething. Once their first tooth breaks through, parents are encouraged to begin brushing at least twice a day. This will also help you and your child get used to the twice a day routine for a great foundation of good dental health routines.
Visit Dr. Jeff and his team twice a year
Another part of a great oral hygiene routine is visiting Dr. Jeff and his staff at least twice a year. Your child should begin visiting the dentist right around when they are a year old, or when they get their first tooth, whichever comes first. If that time is now, or if you have any questions about your child’s dental health, contact us to set up an appointment.