Kids + Brushing Together
July 25, 2016
More than 20 percent of children 2 to 11 years old have never been to the dentist, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Furthermore, almost half of all very young children between the ages of 2 and 5 have never been to the dentist at all.
Did you know that dental caries (that’s tooth decay!) remains the most prevalent chronic disease in children, even though it is entirely preventable? The CDC says that children who brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste will have less tooth decay. Knowing that the simple act of brushing could prevent a lifetime of dental pain for your child should be enough to act quickly and impart some dental wisdom and enthusiasm onto your little ones sooner rather than later. Luckily, tooth brushing can also be a family activity everyone can participate in at the sink together to keep each other on track and having fun with an act of daily living! Here are a few things you can do to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth and taking oral hygiene seriously from day one:
Pick out a special toothbrush: The toothbrush aisle is one of the best aisles for kids to have free reign at the store and find a toothbrush they love at a low cost that helps them invest in their own oral health. These days, brightly-colored and character-themed brushes are aplenty and help kids adopt a new attitude about the whole idea from the beginning. Some of the electric toothbrushes can still be very affordable (like under $5!) with extra soft bristles for gentle cleaning in little mouths.
Let them use mouthwash: Anticavity fluoride rinses come in many kids flavors (like bubblegum, fruit, mint and more!) and sizes, and are generally alcohol free for a more gentle cleanse. They also usually have really cool easy-pour spouts or pumps (like this one) so kids can work on their independence by pouring their own rinse without making a huge mess in the bathroom.
Read about Brushing: A good way to learn about and get your kids excited about any new chore is to read about it. Some visual learners will benefit by seeing examples of teeth and tooth brushing in both children’s books and informational resources with diagrams. Some children will also learn a lot just about what their teeth are for by reading books about them. Dr. Seuss has a pretty hilarious ode to teeth with The Tooth Book, while board books can be a good option for little toddlers, and one of our favorites: Teeth Are Not for Biting can give children positive thing they can do instead of biting when they have new teeth coming in.
Use a Timer: The American Dental Association shared this handy infographic about the best tooth brushing practices including a recommended frequency of two minutes of brushing two times per day! Try keeping a kitchen timer on the bathroom sink to keep the whole family focused while brushing, or hum your favorite song twice in a row while you brush, like the ABC’s or the Happy Birthday song to make sure you’re brushing long enough. The American Dental Association pre-selected a playlist full of songs to brush your teeth to!
Read more great tooth brushing guidelines from the American Dental Association to learn about what size your toothbrush should be, what angles to brush at for best coverage and how much pressure to use when brushing.
The key is to take the right approach that keeps your kids engaged and invested in their oral health that builds good habits for a lifetime of great oral health!