Good Brushing Starts Early
For some families, bedtime routine is about on par with having a root canal: something you have to do but you’d just rather not. The reality is that kids can and do get used to any kind of routine as long as it’s made into just that: a routine. The fussing and whining about flossing and brushing of teeth can wear you down, so here are a few tips that will help!
It’s all About the Tools
- A toothbrush that they like will work better than one that they don’t. For example, the Princess brushes that were on sale might not be a big hit with your 8 year old son. Better still? Let them pick out their own brushes at the store – within a certain selection. You need to make sure that the ones they choose are the right size for their mouths and have soft or extra soft bristles.
- Floss comes in flavours but if it’s a different flavour from the paste, you might have a mutiny on your hands. Best to stick with the unflavoured one, to keep everyone happy!
- Toothpaste comes in a variety of brands and styles – some with cartoon characters that taste like bubblegum and a whole host of other options. Don’t be swayed by the tube decorations! Some of them have very strong mint or cinnamon flavours that aren’t always palatable to young, well… palates. Choose wisely!
Timing is Everything
- Be sure to set up a time for brushing of teeth that is more or less consistent every morning and night and be sure to make it AFTER the last snack of the night, unless you want to go through the exercise again!
- A good suggestion from one of our clients was to have a separate brush in the bathroom closest to the front door, to ensure that it’s getting done in the morning – something that could otherwise get overlooked in the daily rush to get out the door!
Can my Kid do it on Their Own?
Most kids have the dexterity to floss and brush on their own by age 7 but every child is different, so work with them to make sure they are using proper technique and not brushing too hard or for too little time!
Take your Time and Perfect the Technique!
We recommend brushing for a minimum of two minutes each session. This can seem like an eternity to a fidgety 6 year old but there are ways to make it easier!
- Get an app! There are plenty of apps with timers on them that you can put on your smartphone and run. Some give ‘virtual stickers’ for getting the job done! Egg timers work too!
- Find songs on their playlists that are at least two minutes in length. They will be distracted by the song.
As for technique, small children can easily understand concepts like “brushing like train wheels” to get them to brush in massaging circles rather than back and forth. If you can, brush your teeth at the same time!
There is a reason for the statement “kids will do what you do, not what you say.”
If you’re having trouble convincing them of the importance of brushing and flossing regularly, let us know and we can discuss it with them at their next appointment: sometimes kids will take information in differently if the person offering it is someone other than a parent.
And of course, make regular visits to your family dentist a part of your children’s oral health plan. Orion Dental specializes in children’s dentistry, and with offices conveniently located in Milton and Scarborough we’re never too far away! Call us today to book an appointment for you and your family!