How to teach your kids to brush their teeth

A smiling young hispanic boy demonstrates proper brushing technique.

Good oral health is just one area of hygiene we want for our children. Healthy habits are something we all work to instill in our children while they are young, and a daily habit of brushing teeth is critical.

Peter McIntyre DDS is a family dental office in Colorado Springs and he offers several tips to teach your kids to brush their teeth.

The technical part of brushing teeth is the first place to start. Peter McIntyre Family Dental Colorado Springs suggests for children to:

  • Use a small head, soft bristle brush
  • Use only a pea sized amount of tooth paste
  • Have them brush each tooth completely- front, sides, gum line, back
  • Brush for 2 minutes
  • Spit the toothpaste out when done
  • Brush twice a day

Now, technical components met, we can now focus on the HOW to actually get your child to do it! This can sometimes require more creativity and Peter McIntyre Family Dental Colorado Springs suggests:

Help your child brush their teeth in the beginning of the learning process. Check in with them periodically to make sure they are continuing to follow the technical parts. When they are young, check with them every day and as they get older, it can become weekly.

Keep regular family dental visits on your calendar. Visit your dentist every 6 months to make it a standard practice. This will help reduce dental anxiety as well, if your child is experiencing that.

Replace your child’s toothbrush 2-4 times per year. One mom replaces the toothbrush at every 6 month visit. The child is able to pick their favorite character design toothbrush right after a “healthy, cavity free dental visit”. Many parents we know will add a new toothbrush to holiday celebrations such as Easter baskets and/or Christmas stockings.

To limit your child’s overuse of toothpaste, smear the toothpaste on the head of the brush rather than using a glob. If the child keeps swallowing rather than spitting, use a cup of water to rinse and spit as part of the process. The extra water can be swished around in the mouth which feels different than simply drinking and it becomes a conditional response related to tooth brushing.

To encourage brushing for a full two minutes, set a timer, or play a 2 minute long song. There are also videos on YouTube that offer graphics and stories to help kids understand brushing. Make it a fun, consistent task. Brush with them for 2 minutes and then you will both have the benefit of a healthy routine!

Your local family dental office is equipped to support your efforts in working with your kids to improve their oral health. Whether in Colorado Springs or not, family dental care is important, so don’t feel shy about asking if you are struggling with creating or keeping a healthy oral care routine with your child.

Peter McIntyre DDS is a premier Colorado Springs Dentist ready to serve you and your family’s dental health needs. We invite you to learn more about us by giving us a call today!

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