From an early age, children can begin taking on the responsibility of brushing and flossing their teeth. However, a parent will still need to double check their work and likely go over their teeth, even when they are 6 or 7 years old or longer. Children should be brushing their teeth twice per day, ideally once in the morning and once before bed, and flossing once per day as well.
When they brush their teeth, it is recommended that they use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste, and that they should brush for a period of two minutes. It is important to also teach kids to brush their tongue and to gently brush their gums as well.
The number one goal should be to establish the healthy habit of regularly brushing and flossing. But just how do you go about doing that? There are some things you can do to help get your child more interested in taking part of this daily ritual, including:
- Make it fun. You can do this by letting them choose a new toothbrush every time they need a new one (which is every three to four months, or when the bristles are frayed).
- Use a reward chart. Kids love to get stickers or checkmarks! You can set up a tooth care reward chart to keep them on track each day. Keep track of each time they do it, and then provide a small reward for doing well.
- Make it a routine. If you create a morning and evening routine that includes oral care, kids will be more likely to know that it is going to happen, and they will avoid trying to get out if it.
- Use an electric toothbrush. Not only do kids like them, and some are quite affordable today, but they will help them learn how long to brush as well.
- See the results. Pick up some disclosure tablets from the drugstore or dentist office that will reveal the job they are doing. After brushing, kids chew the tablet, and it shows all the places they missed. It will help them learn to brush better.
- Make it musical. Put a CD player near the bathroom with some kids tunes. Each tooth-brushing time, play one song and have them brush through the whole song. You can even dance around some while it plays.