How to Teach Your Child to Brush Their Teeth
How to Teach Your Child to Brush Their Teeth?
Modern research shows that the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be found in the mouth as early as 3-4 months of age, when infants eagerly pull their fingers and then toys into their mouths. Teeth are not there yet, but the conditions for the development of tooth decay are already in place. So you need to start your daily oral care ritual after 4 months of age, without waiting for teeth to appear.
Start caring for your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums, including the folds between them and the lips, in the morning and evening after eating with a special tissue or pads soaked in, for example, xylitol. Xylitol not only tastes good, it inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay. Use the accessory to gently massage the gums, removing plaque on the first teeth. This way your baby gets used to brushing his teeth every day. Rub the teeth in the direction from the gum to the incisal edge in the front and back as well as on the sides.
What brush and toothpaste to choose
When children begin the process of introducing complementary foods and they don’t know how to rinse, it is important to remove food debris from their mouths. At this point, use a silicone chew pad with soft bumps and a teething brush. After each feeding, clean the teeth by putting it on your index finger, then wipe the mucosa and teeth with a tissue or soaked in xylitol.
At this age, the first toothbrush with a rounded head and short rubber bristles will be used by your baby for chewing, facilitating the teething process. Thanks to the comfortable handle with the limiting ring, your baby will learn to hold the brush independently. Teach your baby through playful activities, including children’s music and a fun rhyme or story while brushing.
After 8 months, babies are more inclined to imitate their parents and repeat their movements. In this case, a child’s brush with thin rubber bristles and a limiting ring would be a good helper. Be sure to encourage your child’s initiative by letting them move the brush around in their mouths a little. Teach your baby the proper “sweeping” motion of the brush from the gum to the cutting edge of the tooth to remove food debris. Don’t forget to praise him, even if he doesn’t brush but only chews or sucks on the brush. You can use a tissue soaked in xylitol after such joint “brushing”.
Toothpaste is not yet used at this age, since children do not know how to rinse their mouth, and eaten paste can lead to an excess of fluoride in the body. All manipulation should be as gentle as possible, so as not to cause discomfort and pain. Always time brushing your child’s teeth to coincide with a pleasant experience, such as a morning walk or a favorite activity after breakfast.
How to Teach Your Child to Brush Their Teeth by Himself
Your baby may have 6 to 10 baby teeth by age 1. It’s time to switch to a brush with soft synthetic polyester bristles with a non-slip handle that’s easy to grip and without a limiting ring. In the second year, the brushing technique expands with new techniques, as chewing teeth appear. To clean their chewing surface, you will have to gently push back the corner of your mouth, position the brushing surface perpendicular to the tooth row and make longitudinal movements.
Buy several brushes with different designs: if your baby likes the toothbrush, he will be more than happy to brush with it. Your example is very important, so leave the bathroom door open when you brush your own teeth. Let your child see that dental care is a daily routine.
Brush your baby’s teeth after every meal, at least after breakfast and dinner. Otherwise, brushing can be replaced by drinking a small amount of clean water after a meal.
How to add a game element
Sometimes ask your baby for permission to brush his teeth, showing him new techniques in a playful way. In return, offer to brush your teeth or your favorite toy. Don’t forget to praise your child and emphasize how white your teeth have become. This is very important!
A one-year-old baby can concentrate on the process for no more than 1 minute: let him brush his teeth first, and then you will help him with your hand to complete the still too short procedure, using accessories soaked in xylitol. Telling an entertaining story about teeth or an interesting game on the subject will help to develop an interest in taking care of teeth. Be sure to praise the child for the slightest successes, encouragement when they are lacking and point out that clean, white, strong teeth – it’s great!
At 2-3 years of age, children are eager to be independent, and you can now teach your child to brush their teeth properly under parental supervision, as well as to rinse their mouth. To do this, teach him to hold and spit out water, blowing bubbles. When the skill develops, you can use children’s toothpaste with minimal fluoride content. Apply it to the brush, starting with a light touch of the paste on the bristles of the brush and gradually increasing the amount to a pea.
Time the procedure gradually up to 2 minutes – an hourglass in the form of cartoon characters or a stopwatch with your child’s favorite tune will help to time it. Let the child start to brush their teeth by themselves, and you should correct the movements of their hand if necessary, praise them and never scold them if they are unsuccessful. Gradually the right movements will replace the awkward attempts.
If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal during the day, make it a habit to rinse your mouth with water. Why not have a competition: which of you brushes your teeth longer, who has whiter teeth? If you count the brushed teeth, at the same time and fix the skill of counting. You can work with your child to make a bright poster and let him glue a funny sticker to the poster after each brushing.
This is how your child will learn the skill of taking care of baby teeth. Healthy baby teeth are usually followed by strong permanent teeth!