Brushing the teeth is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities, no matter your age. Parents know the value of regular brushing and early dental care, but kids don't always understand. Encouraging brushing early can go a long way toward ensuring good dental health for life. Here are a few tips to get children excited about brushing their teeth:
- Start early. Use just a little water when brushing your child's first teeth. Check with your dentist before using toothpaste on children younger than two years old.
- Brush together. You should keep brushing your preschooler's teeth and supervising dental care until your child is about seven or eight years old. A positive way to supervise is to brush your teeth alongside your child. Most kids learn more by example than from instructions.
- Make it fun. Sing a song or recite a nursery rhyme as you brush to help clock the recommended time of two minutes for brushing. If you buy your child themed toothbrushes, try matching the song to each new brush for a little variety. You should replace toothbrushes every three months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Toothbrushes with soft bristles work best for kids.
- Reward good brushing behavior. Create a chart or other method to track daily brushing. When your child fills up the chart, present a reward that doesn't involve sugar for the great brushing behavior.
- Stay positive. Parental praise is its own reward. Try performing a fun inspection after brushing using a pair of whacky glasses or a lit magnifier. Praise your child for doing a good job and for having fresh breath and white teeth during this inspection.
This positive approach should continue when your child visits his or her dentist. At Adelberg Montalvan Pediatric Dentistry, we make dental visits fun and non-threatening. We specialize in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, so we know how to make children feel comfortable and how to involve parents in dental care. Call us today at (516) 798-1111 to schedule an appointment.