-“Kids start copying their parent’s behavior at a very young age and this certainly works in favor of teaching kids to brush their teeth,” said Lisa Lu Davis, DMD, the Paso Robles dentist. While it’s important to start good oral hygiene as soon as possible by brushing toddlers’ teeth for them, there comes a time for kids to start doing this for themselves and the staff from Dr. Davis’s office has put together some tips to help parents teach the kids how to brush.
Starting oral hygiene early is important both for oral health and to imprint a favorable experience. Even infants can learn to enjoy having their gums gently wiped when it’s turned into a game by mom or dad smiling and laughing, encouraging baby to be happy. Infants watch their parents’ faces and take cues from expressions. A happy smile makes the baby want to smile back.
It’s time to start brushing as soon as the first tooth grows in. Start gently with a very soft brush designed specifically for infants and toddlers. There is even specially formulated toothpaste available for young children. “Your dentist is always happy to make recommendations about suitable toothbrushes and toothpaste,” said the Paso Robles dentist.
Teaching kids to brush their teeth can be an easy and fun experience for everyone. Follow these few simple tips and the youngsters will be brushing their teeth in no time. But, keep in mind, it may be a while before they’ll do it without being reminded!
- Start early – as already mentioned, an early start gets youngsters used to brushing. Kids like to imitate their parents, so at first, make brushing a “family affair.” Let the child watch you brush your teeth, then brush the child’s teeth. Eventually, offer the child the brush and help them learn how to use it.
- Create the habit – Just before bedtime announce it’s toothbrushing time and brush along with your child. As brushing becomes part of the bedtime ritual, it becomes a habit. Do the same right after breakfast, before the day starts.
- At some point, kids start taking the initiative to brush on their own, usually between 6 and 9 years. Around 6 years of age is a good time for an appointment with the dentist for learning more about how to brush and start learning about bacteria, cavities, and bad breath. Kids don’t want germs in their mouths, or “stinky-breath” and the teaching tools most dentists have are very effective. Also, find out if the school offers an oral health program.
- Take a special shopping trip and let the child pick out his or her toothbrush and toothpaste. Encourage a couple of different flavors of toothpaste in case one isn’t the right flavor.
- Make a big positive deal out of brushing! Kids thrive on praise.
The final tip is “Meet the Dentist!” Introduce the child to the family dentist as early as possible. Going to the dentist need not be a stressful, frightening experience. “Good job,” praise from the dentist is just as important as praise from parents. Schedule dental exams at the same time and let your child watch your exam first.
Building partnerships with every patient to create ideal dental health through preventive care and patient education are foundations of Dr. Davis’s conscientious oral care practices. Using state-of-the-art technologies in all procedures adds to the reasons Dr. Davis is a dentist Paso Robles area families and individuals choose dental health care.
Lisa Lu Davis, DMD, Inc
2120 Golden Hill Road Suite 103
Paso Robles, CA 93446