Teaching our children about healthy teeth was very satisfying for me, because I never had good teeth.
As I’ve said in other articles, a parent is trying to help keep a child’s teeth clean, yes, but, they are also trying to give them good habits that will be with them the rest of their lives.
So, when should a parent start teaching their children about brushing? Actually, it is recommended that you see a dentist at the first sign of a baby tooth, or failing that sometime during baby’s first year. This is important because the sooner the dentist gets a chance to spot potential problems the better.
To clean that first baby tooth you can use a damp washcloth to clean off sugar and milk residue.
It is important to care for baby teeth because they reserve places for permanent teeth and; they help the baby talk and, they aid for biting chewing.
People are supposed to brush their teeth twice a day. I was shocked to find that out. I thought you only did it at night before bed. In fact it is suggested you brush twice per day (although I don’t think any dentist would argue with “after every meal”). In the morning after sleeping and breakfast it is a good time to brush; this removes harmful films and food particles. The final brush would be at bedtime.
The question of fluoride will come up and it is recommended you hold off until the baby is over two-years-old.
It is best to get a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every 10-12 weeks.
So, you know what to teach you child, how do you get him or her to participate?
Let the child see you brush and smile while you are doing it. They often will want to mimic you.
Coloring books that have to do with going to the dentist are fun. Coloring kids in the waiting room or coloring furniture in the dentist’s office helps your child become familiar with the dentist’s office and because of the coloring they begin to associate the dentist with fun.
Help your child keep a chart. Each day put two stars on it when their teeth are brushed. Try using silver stars. Then, when your child has a checkup with the dentist no matter how they do give them a gold star. This is just positive reinforcement.
Try and find children’s story books on brushing teeth. They are easy to find at such “super chains” as Barnes and Noble.
Show your child pictures from magazines of pretty teeth and ask them what they like about them
Conversely when you see pictures of a bad smile ask them why they think the teeth became so bad.
Sit down and have a conversation with your child and ask them why it is so important to have good teeth. What do good teeth help them do? Answers may include eating and talking.
When your child starts school, volunteer to help the teacher secure a dental professional to speak to the class. This may include a dentist or a dental assistant.
Ask your child’s dentist to have his staff show your child around their office and explain why they have certain instruments.
Learn about occupations in dentistry. As your child gets a little older you can talk to him or her about what these different occupations do.
When your child is first learning to brush their own teeth, to help them, try standing behind them and cupping their chin.
While tips are great, it is important to never lose sight of your goal and that is to instill the act of brushing teeth as second nature. As important as selling your child on brushing is, making sure they do it until they are on their own is equally important.