If you have a child who resists brushing their teeth or consistently makes half-hearted attempts to do so, then it is probably time to utilize some new strategies as a parent. Below are a few ideas to help make tooth brushing a fun, welcome event in your family:
Allow your child to choose their own brush (with careful guidance)
One of the first, and most important, things you can do is give your child the opportunity to make a decision about their own toothbrush. Of course, as a parent, you will need to carefully guide their choice so the brush meets certain criteria; however, within a few broad parameters, children can successfully choose a brush that matches their personal needs and desires. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when helping your child make a decision:
Electric - According to research, toothbrushes that are powered likely perform better than manual brushes, at least at removing plaque, Perhaps just as important, many children respond well to the "higher-tech" nature of electric brushes, and this factor alone can be motivating to reluctant brushers. When choosing an electric brush, try to purchase a rechargeable unit that allows you to change brush heads; the upfront cost is higher, but you will eliminate the need to replace batteries or entire units as the bristles wear.
Fun - Many kids will enjoy choosing a toothbrush with a fun theme. The market is full of options, including brushes available in multiple colors and a number of character themes. Just be sure that the toothbrush chosen does not compromise its cleaning ability due to shape or size and that it satisfies the other criteria discussed here.
Soft - Always choose a soft-bristled brush unless your child's dentist recommends otherwise. Soft brushes are more comfortable for a child's sensitive teeth and gums, and they also are less abrasive on tooth enamel. If you are concerned that a soft brush does not clean your child's teeth sufficiently, schedule a visit with the dentist to discuss your concerns and obtain professional advice on how to proceed.
American Dental Association approved - Any brush you ultimately purchase should be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Toothbrushes with ADA approval are manufactured of safe materials and will not contain toxic chemicals or possess other harmful characteristics. The ADA seal will be located on the toothbrush packaging, so be sure to look for it during the evaluation process.
Buy a kid-friendly toothpaste
There are dozens of toothpaste formulations on the market, so it makes sense to allow your child to make a decision regarding the toothpaste used, as well. Many adult-oriented toothpastes are either too strong or unpleasant to the sensitive tastes of children.
Child-specific toothpastes come both with and without fluoride, and they also come in a variety of flavors. For children who are old enough to brush their teeth and spit voluntarily, choose a fluoride-based toothpaste to provide lasting protection against tooth decay.
As for flavors, if your child seems uncertain as to which they might like, purchase multiple travel-size tubes and allow your child to try different flavors before making a final decision. Finally, as with brushes, look for ADA-approved toothpastes and avoid any that do not contain their seal of approval.
Involve the family in teeth brushing time
Since every member of the family brushes their teeth, it makes sense to make brushing a common experience where each person can get together. Having all the family members together while brushing teeth can make the time enjoyable for children and also serves as a means of motivation and encouragement.
In addition, since some children respond well to games and competition, you might consider introducing a simple system of keeping track of brushing among siblings and then tie various prizes into the process. Just be sure that you do not allow any competition to turn a child away from brushing or become too serious. Keep the focus on having a fun time and being together as a family.
For more tips, contact a family dental clinic like Hoffman & Karl Dental Associates, PLLC.Share
30 November 2015
After dealing with a few root canals, I realized that it was time to take my dental hygiene a more seriously. I talked with my dentist about what I could do differently, and he was full of great suggestions that would help. He walked me through different ways to brush, floss, and take care of tartar buildup, and it was really amazing to see the difference that it made. I also started taking a fluoride supplement to strengthen my enamel. When I made it to my next appointment, my dentist was blown away with the improvement. This blog is all about improving your dental appointments by keeping your teeth healthier.