Parents understand that the foundation for a life of good oral health begins with solid oral hygiene habits in early childhood. Yet, it can sometimes be a fight to get toddlers to go along with brushing their teeth. Your pediatric dentist can offer a few suggestions to make this whole process a little easier for you.
Each child will vary developmentally, but most toddlers will have the motor coordination and understanding necessary to brush their own teeth around the age of 18 months to 2-years-old.
First, explain the importance of good oral hygiene habits to your child. If you just say that “you have to do it,” the child may be more resistant. Talk to a pediatric dentist for tips on using child-friendly language to educate your toddler on these topics.
When your child establishes a relationship with a pediatric dentist, it can also reinforce the need to maintain the child’s oral health. Your child should see the dentist initially by the first birthday and every six months after that.
When you make tooth-brushing an enjoyable activity, the child is also more likely to want to participate. Allow the child to select a toothbrush at the store that is visually appealing. Make sure it’s the right size so that your child doesn’t get frustrated by a brush that’s too large. Many toothpaste manufacturers make toothpaste targeted at children, and these products often have a more pleasant taste than the adult versions. Those toothpaste can also encourage your child to take up this important habit.
Establishing a routine can also help to ease your child into brushing his or her teeth. When it’s an expected event every morning or night, the child may be more likely to participate.
If you set an example and brush your own teeth first, your child may want to follow your lead. Show that you’re having fun brushing your teeth, too. You can also encourage your child to “practice” on a teddy bear or doll to get the hang of the process.
There are many ways that you can make an oral hygiene routine more enjoyable for your child. For more suggestions and advice, call the office of Richardson Dentistry at (972) 218-0078 to take advantage of the expertise our dentists have with pediatric patients.