Clean Your Child’s Teeth
Toddlers will not brush their teeth if you don’t tell them to.
Toddlers will not know why they need to brush their teeth if you don’t educate them.
If you haven’t started brushing and flossing your child’s teeth, start today because you can keep your child from getting tooth decay by starting their dental care early, as early as possible.
Most of us don’t enjoy visiting the dentist every half yearly, yet we ask our child to open their mouth for us twice a day. No wonder they protest. Let’s brush our teeth, the fun way!
WHERE DO I BEGIN?
I was wiping Sonia’s gum and tongue with a washcloth until her first teeth sprouted at nine-month-old. We have established a routine since birth, so it wasn’t too tough getting her used to the idea of brushing teeth. And when her first tooth sprouted, I introduced her to (1) a toothbrush and (2) a fluoride-free blackcurrant toothpaste. Not forgetting (3) dental floss picks. Only recently, I introduced her to a (4) fluoride toothpaste.
She brushes her teeth first thing in the morning and in the evening after drinking her milk. Do NOT put your child down to sleep with a bottle of milk because sugary liquid cling to the teeth, feeding bacteria that can cause tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.
SING A SONG
“This is the way I brush my teeth,
I brush my teeth,
I brush my teeth.
This is the way I brush my teeth,
So early in the morning.”
Singing is useful because it makes the whole brushing experience more FUN! And most importantly, you can assure your child that brushing time is limited, because they know that brushing time is over when the song ends. The key is to keep brushing SHORT! You can lengthen the brushing time as your child gets older.
GIVE THEM DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY
Let them have a say! Allow them to choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. I realise that when I allow Sonia to make her own decisions, she is more willing to engage with me and brush her teeth.
WALK YOUR TALK
Set the right dental care example. If your kids see you brushing and flossing regularly, they are more likely to pick up the good habits. Tell them the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene in their language. For example, Sonia and I happened to watch a MTV performed by some kids some months ago. One of the girls had a black tooth and I took the opportunity to ‘preach’ on good oral hygiene. I gave her my pocket mirror and asked her to look at her nice set of pearly white teeth. “THIS” (pearly white teeth) is the result of brushing teeth religiously. But if she doesn’t brush and floss her teeth thoroughly every morning and night, then “THAT” (referring to the black tooth) is the consequence. Being such a vain girl (fortunately or unfortunately), it irks her to think that she might look ugly.
USE A GOAL CHART
I did this with Sonia when she was younger but now, she’s good brushing her teeth without any reward. Her motivation comes from wanting to look good. Click below image for printable GOAL CHART.
Have fun brushing teeth with your little ones!
Brought to you by WESA Health Talk!