How to Brush Your Teeth Properly
The Battle of the Brushing
How to brush your teeth properly? We all know the importance of brushing our teeth but getting our little ones to scrub off the sugar bugs can be a daily battle. A morning and evening tooth-brushing routine is one of our first defenses against tooth decay and becomes a lifelong healthy habit for our smiling kids. Our group of dental professionals want to pass on some tips and tricks for ‘brushing up’ on some cleaning techniques!
When to Begin
Even before your infant has teeth, proper gum cleaning should begin. After feedings or a couple times a day, take a soft cloth or gauze and very gently wipe the baby’s gums.
By age two, it is important to help your toddler brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes. Brush in a circular pattern from left to right, top to bottom. Sounds simple right but as caregivers we know nothing is that easy. For young kids two minutes can seem like an eternity and we want to make brushing a fun and positive experience.
More Fun Together
Pull up a step-stool and make teeth brushing a family activity. Show your little ones how fun it is to brush, foam up, and “P’tooee!” spit out. This allows you to see how your kiddo’s are brushing and demonstrate the right to scrub those pearly whites!
Make it a Game
We often turn teeth brushing into a chore – something we have to do. Why not make it a game and it will be something your munchkins look forward to! Having some undivided attention along with a game can turn brush time into fun time. – —
- Do some silly actions while you brush (flap your arms or balance on one foot)
- Hum a song (let your child pick the words)
- Play with some ‘special toys’ (toys reserved only for teeth time around the sink)
- ‘Race’ your child to their toothbrush and then see who can make the biggest foamiest mouth.
- We aren’t too proud to use Screen Time (playing a song or short video makes two minutes of brushing go by fast)
- Charts or Rewards to track progress
Two Whole Minutes
I know – I know 120 seconds in kid time is like 120 years, but doing these fun distracting activities can make two minutes of quality together time actually fly by. Set a timer or play a two-minute song to help keep the time. Sometimes toothbrushes have two-minute timers built-in. As long as parents or caregivers look forward to brushing time, your kids will learn not to dread it. You will need to help younger kids brush but let them finish off by themselves so they can become more independent as they transition to brushing by themselves.
Get the Gear
It doesn’t take much equipment to develop a good habit of happy teeth.
- Let your kids choose a toothbrush and flavored toothpaste. Pick from hundreds of colors, characters, and flavors from the dental aisle or from their local dentists.
- Keep them in a convenient spot (maybe the downstairs bathroom will help them remember to brush more frequently)
- A step stool or chair, make sure your child can see the mirror when brushing. This will help improve their brushing technique and make them more likely to brush longer!
- A little fun incentive (Progress chart, Stickers, special toy, game, song or video – whatever you decide to make it fun)
- Consistency. Stick with it – just as you protect your child from harmful UV-rays, sharp objects, or hot things, remember protecting their teeth is just as important to their long-term health. Making this special part of the day a priority can make all the difference in your child’s oral health. Rather than another thing on your ‘To-Do list’ look at brushing time two times a day as a time to be silly and connect with your little one even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Let us know what works for you! We’d love to hear any suggestions that have worked for your kiddo’s brushing time in the comments below!