Oral health plays important role in kids as it does in adults. We often think toddlers/kids do not need brushing of their teeth but this is not true.
By incorporating brushing habit twice daily (morning before breakfast and night after the last meal) in your kids daily routine, you are not only preventing the milk tooth from decay but also saving the permanent teeth.
Some kids are easy-going with brushing but for some parents, it is just a tug of war scenario in bathrooms in the morning. Making a toddler to brush teeth is like climbing a mountain. So, for those poor parents who run for their life after their kids for brushing we have few suggestions:
For parents, whose kids don’t like brushing, my only advice to them is, “Be patient“. Kids have their own good reasons to hate brushing. Small minds are not capable enough to rationalise the importance of tooth brushing, also, they lack the manual dexterity to get on firm grip on the toothbrush.
Moreover, kids want to do everything on their own in their own self created ways, often refuse to let anyone brush teeth. Very often, the child may chew upon toothbrush or rigorously moving brush to and fro, traumatising soft tissues. This may make a kid even more reluctant to brushing.
That doesn’t mean you should give up on brushing your toddler’s teeth. Patience and consistency is the key while you are working with your child. Kids always love to be in a routine. Take small steps, don’t expect a child to start at once only. Keep at it, just as you would have done with every other habit like potty training, feeding, drinking etc. They all brush, eventually.
Give it a Start and Make Brushing a Routine
Some parents don’t start brushing teeth, may be due to ignorance and reluctance or sometimes, maybe, they feel it is not needed at all. Start it by giving a baby-sized toothbrush as soon as the tooth starts erupting. Although the child may initially play with the toothbrush rather than brushing their teeth, it will ensure a good habit in them. Keep supervision on the kid while manipulating brush. Afterwards, you can properly brush your child’s teeth. This is to make the kid learn to hold the toothbrush.
Show and Tell
Tell them the real purpose of brushing teeth and outcomes of neglecting oral health. Prepare there mind first to accept the importance of good oral health.
Tell your kid how to brush. Try to brush in front of a mirror – the kid can learn to brush in a better way. Make your kid sit in your lap facing in front and for older kids, stand behind them to brush teeth.
An elder sibling can be used as a role model too. Initially give your child a wet toothbrush, then after few days when the child has learned to hold the toothbrush, for kids under three years of age, start using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice as the child tends to swallow it. After 3 years of age, you may increase the quantity to a pea-sized toothpaste (non-fluoridated) as the child tends to swallow it. Children should be able to brush unsupervised by the age of six or seven.
Choose a Correct Toothbrush and Paste
Don’t give over-sized and hard brush to your kids. This may injure your kid, clean inefficiently and make kid reluctant to brushing further. Use a brush with a small handle with a comfortable grip and long enough handle. Make sure the taste of the toothpaste should not be annoying to the kid to make tooth brushing sessions hassle free.
- Use gentle circular strokes to clean teeth.
- Brush back and forward on the chewing surface of the teeth.
- After brushing all the surfaces, encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste
- Don’t forget to change your child’s toothbrushes 3 to 4 times a year.
Making Brushing, a Fun Time
Kids are fun-seekers- their sole motivating factor to do tasks. Every parent has tricks to tackle temper tantrums thrown by their kids. Isn’t it? Use attractive, bright and colourful brushes with there favourite cartoon characters. Take your kid with you, let them make their own choice for brush or toothpaste. Make brushing time, a fun time which can comprise or a rhyme or sometimes simple conversation regarding brushing importance is enough. Tell them how Germie runs away when you brush your teeth. You may sing a favourite rhyme or count the brushing strokes. This would have two benefits: a kid may be distracted easily and tooth brushing would be a fun game now.
Brush your teeth twice a day.
Clean your tongue every day.
Then Germie will run away.
Rewards and appreciation.
Everybody loves to be rewarded – kids are no way an exception to it. Verbal award in the form of appreciation can lift up spirits of your child and will encourage your child to adopt healthy oral habits in future. Manage a book or chart where you can give a sticker to your kid, every time he or she brushes. Please don’t give candy, sticky food or acidic food in form of appreciation. This would put all your efforts of oral health maintenance into the drain.
Do not Forget the Tongue
Sometimes, you may wonder that after through brushing routine, still, the mouth of the kid stinks, it may be, you forget to clean the tongue. Tongue coating provides a niche to harbour many bacteria which may be cause bad odour and needs to be a scrapped off.
Rinse after every Meal
Make your child rinse thoroughly after they eat anything. Water shall dislodge the food particles stuck in between the teeth. Avoid too sugary, acidic food or beverages consumption.
Make a Routine for yourself too
First, convince yourself- oral health is important too. Simply telling your kid to brush teeth shall not reap any benefit. Being a parent, you ought to be a role model in front of your kids. You should follow a strict oral hygiene routine too. Small kids are generally “copycats’. Make them brush along with you. All you need to do is to dedicate Two minutes, two times a day for brushing. It is all about to make a routine, thereafter your kid will remind you to get up and do brushing!
Please make it clear in your mind too, milk teeth are as important as permanent teeth. Oral health and hygiene are also important and you are held responsible for it, as kids are not able to take care of themselves. The kid should make the first visit to the dentist as soon as the eruption of milk teeth starts, but should not be delayed after first birthday your kid.