Here is the trick. Don’t give them a choice in the matter. When your children were really little, you would brush their teeth for them. Most parents stop helping their children brush their teeth way too young. Children don’t have the hand eye coordination to effectively brush their teeth (also true for flossing) until they are 8 or 9 years old. If your older children don’t want to brush their teeth, then brush their teeth for them. In actuality, this can still be better than having them brush their own teeth, because you can see areas where their teeth need the cleaning (like how the dental hygienist can see the problem areas of your teeth that you cannot). So if your children don’t want to brush their teeth, then go ahead and brush them. Don’t even give them the choice.
If your child likes gadgets, let us work with them on an electric toothbrush that will make brushing a game. The new electric toothbrushes can 1) time the amount of time spent on each quarter of the mouth; 2) let’s your child know if they are brushing too hard; and 3) connect through an application on your smartphone to give you and them a record of their brushing history.
The other important thing you can do to help your children brush and floss their teeth is to model good dental habits for them. Brush and floss your own teeth twice a day using good techniques. Replace toothbrushes or toothbrush heads regularly. Notice and point out smiles on television or in magazines and talk about how important good dental hygiene is for maintaining a smile. Schedule regular dental visits for them and praise them for their successes and develop action plans for correcting areas that need help. Children who realize that maintaining good dental health is valued in their family are much more likely to maintain those habits throughout their lifetime.
Please talk to one of our staff if you have questions about your family’s dental health or if you would like tips or a demonstration on brushing your children’s teeth. We also have some nice videos designed for everyone in the family about preventative care.
Making Smiles Happen,
Your Davidson Family Dentistry team