Good habits start from a young age. This includes dental hygiene, so it is important to start teaching your children how to look after their teeth as soon as possible. But that can be easier said than done, as little ones often don’t take too well to their parents meddling in their mouths.
So how do you get your child to look after their teeth, no matter how many they have? The key is to start as soon as they have their first tooth. Now this doesn’t mean you have to brush it with a brush and toothpaste, but rather take a clean damp cloth and wipe the first few teeth that have appeared. This will clear the area of plaque, and will get your baby used to having something in their mouth.
As your baby gets older, and more teeth appear, you will have to start brushing their teeth with a baby toothbrush. Make sure it has soft bristles, and use a baby toothpaste for their age.
To make sure that brushing time is a successful and fun occasion in the house, try these tips:
- If your child sees that you enjoy brushing your teeth, they aren’t going to want to miss out on the fun. So get the whole family into the bathroom, brush your teeth and dance around a bit.
- Always let your child try to brush their teeth too. It will give them the feeling of independence. You will have to brush for them afterwards as they don’t have the motor skills to do it thoroughly.
- Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste on the brush, and encourage them to spit it out afterwards.
- Get them to stick out their tongue so you can brush that as well. The earlier they get used to that feeling, the better their brushing techniques will be when they are older.
- Remember that the habits you show your kids are most likely the habits that they will pick up. So let them see you brushing and flossing every morning and night.
- Until your child is old enough to do it themselves, their dental hygiene is up to you.
- To protect their teeth, try limiting the amounts of sugar they eat. Also, water down any fruit juice they drink as this can lead to tooth decay at such a young age.
- If you can, don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle as the liquid will sit in their mouth and make tooth decay more likely.
Brushing our teeth comes so naturally to adults, that we can sometimes forget to actually teach our children how to do it. Here is a visual, step-by-step instruction you can take them through
Toptots Early Learning SA