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Published on: 14 May 2018 by michael-1

How To Teach Your Kids To Brush Their Teeth

Oral hygiene is a top issue for young
children. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of children entering
kindergarten have one or more cavity. This is almost entirely due to children
not practicing proper oral care. If you have young children, now is the time to
set them up for a lifetime of success by building strong brushing habits.


One thing many parents do not realize is
that caring for baby teeth is very important. Many adults rationalize that baby
teeth will come out anyway, and do not need to be kept healthy. However, this
is not the right way to look at it. There are many reasons why healthy baby
teeth are important for proper development.


When baby teeth come out, they are doing so
because there are adult teeth ready to come in behind them. The surrounding
teeth act as guides to keep the tooth coming in straight. When teeth are lost
early due to decay, the surrounding baby and adult teeth may close ranks around
the gap, meaning that the new tooth coming in will not have enough space. This
can lead to severe complications requiring years of orthodontic work to
correct. Furthermore, losing a baby tooth to decay can be extremely painful,
and lead to developing speech problems and self esteem problems.


Caring for baby teeth is also important
because it forms lifelong habits. Teaching your child to brush twice daily and
floss every day as soon as they are old enough to do so is important. If you
wait until your child already has adult teeth before they are taught to take
oral hygiene seriously, it will be much more difficult to train them to take
proper care of their teeth. These issues can follow them into adulthood, and
lead to losing adult teeth due to lack of proper care. Set a precedent and
teach your child to brush as soon as they can hold a toothbrush.


At around age 2 or 3, most children will
have developed strong enough fine motor skills to begin to learn to brush their
own teeth. However, they will still need your help and supervision to brush
properly. Start by holding their hand and showing them the motions they need to
make to brush. Go in small circles up over the gums, and spend 30-45 seconds on
each quadrant of the mouth. They will need you holding their hand for many days
before they get the hang of it enough to do it properly; keep supervising and
making sure their teeth get brushed correctly every morning and night!


Even after you feel comfortable allowing
the child to brush their own teeth, keep watching them until they consistently
brush correctly without correction. It is best to continue supervising until
they are as old as 6 to 8 years old, depending on their maturity. Without this
supervision, many children will start to fall into lazier brushing habits, and
eventually will not be brushing properly at all. Consistent oversight and
correction will ensure that they form lifelong brushing habits.


When teaching your child how to brush
initially, it is important to vocalize what you are doing. Even before they are
ready to hold the brush themselves, try explaining what you are doing while you
do it. Point out that the brush is going up over their gums, and that you are
getting the back of each tooth. Then, get the chewing surfaces, and finally
give the tongue a good brushing. You do not need to go into intricate medical
knowledge, but describing each step helps the child learn what needs to be


It is easiest to form a routine and go
through it with your child when they learn to brush on their own. Start with
the outsides of the teeth, then the insides, then the tops, then the tongue.
Having a rigid routine will help them make sure they do not forget any steps
each time they brush. By doing the routine together at first, they will be able
to watch you to keep themselves on track.


It can also be helpful to have your local dentist help
demonstrate the proper brushing techniques. Next appointment, ask the dentist
to show them exactly how to brush. You may even pick up a few tips yourself!


As you can see, teaching a child how to
brush properly is a long process! It may be tempting to take your child at
their word that they are brushing correctly, but this could be a costly
mistake. Teaching correct oral hygiene from a young age means that you will
save lots of money on dental work in the long run. You are also setting up your child to have a beautiful white smile for the rest of their


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