Teaching your children to brush their teeth can be tricky. You want your kids to be able to brush their teeth, but when they are young, they likely won’t do it thoroughly because they have short attention spans, lack the needed skills, and have yet to develop their coordination. Around the age of two or three years old, your child may be ready to start practicing tooth brushing. The transition is not always easy, but with the implementation of these tips, your child will probably be able to brush on their own between the ages of 6-8.
Practice makes perfect! It can be helpful for your little one to try brushing your teeth first. Hold their hand and brush together the first couple of times. Make it into a fun game with silly faces, and they will look forward to this activity.
Show them how it’s done. Before handing over full responsibility, encourage your child to watch in the mirror as you brush their teeth. Explain what you are doing to help them make the connections between the action of brushing and the meaning behind teeth care.
Lead by example. Make brushing together a part of your morning and night routines. If they see you caring for your teeth, they will likely want to imitate you, and show that they are also grown up enough to brush their teeth.
If your kiddo is mostly brushing independently, but you feel their teeth still aren’t getting completely clean, offer to take turns. Maybe they brush on their own in the morning, and you brush for them at night. Give your child the ability to be independent while still getting a refresher each night of what brushing should look and feel like.
Finally, make brushing fun! Oral hygiene should never be treated as a chore or a punishment. Have fun with it by playing music for two minutes instead of using a timer, create a reward system for when your child brushes twice a day for a certain amount of time, download an engaging toothbrushing guide or game app, or bring them shopping for a new toothbrush and toothpaste to make brushing more special.
The general rule of thumb is that if a child is coordinated enough to tie their shoes independently, they may be old enough to take the reins on their own teeth brushing. By instilling good oral hygiene habits now, and keeping it positive, you are ensuring a happier and healthier smile in their future. If you have any questions about this transition, please give Meridian Campus Family Dental a call or schedule an appointment for your child today.