Teaching a child to brush their teeth properly is harder task than many realize. Let’s face it, it is actually a pretty hard thing to explain. However, once the proper brushing technique is mastered, brushing their teeth becomes second-nature to your children.
As adults, sometimes mindlessly brush our teeth due to our learned behavior. Because of this, it’s imperative that when teaching a child, we actually show them, on our own teeth, using proper technique. By showing the child (in addition to explaining), you can help them understand the small things that make such a big difference. For example, consider the following:
1. Amount of toothpaste. Teach your child that a small amount of toothpaste is all that is needed. Less than a pea-size (and even smaller for a child’s brush) is necessary to get all teeth clean.
2. Brush angle and technique. Holding the brush at the proper angle, cleaning all teeth (fronts, backs, sides) of all their teeth, and flossing in between teeth is something that is better shown than talked-though, especially with children.
3. Brushing time. Show your children how to brush for the appropriate amount of time (2-3 minutes) by setting a timer on your phone or smart home device, or singing the “Happy Birthday” Song.
4. Toothbrush and toothpaste care. Toothbrushes should be stored upright, with access to air (so they dry) and toothpaste will last longer if the cap is firmly re-attached after each use. Show your children by example and they will continue these good habits into their own adulthood.
5. Oral care awareness. Watch for bleeding gums and talk about chipped or broken teeth, or other dental issues which may necessitate a visit to the dentist. Tell your child to let you know if they are having any pain or discomfort in their mouth. Your children will remember your advice when they are faced with dental challenges later in life.
When teaching your child, remember that setting a good example is the best way to impart good habits and set your child up for a future of exemplary dental health.
If you have questions about dental technique or how to teach children to make good dental choices, ask your dentist or hygienist at Cobblestone Dental Care here in Gilbert at your next routine dental visit.