Excellent, life-long dental hygiene habits start at a young age, so if your child has gotten to the point that he or she is old enough to begin learning how to brush his or her own teeth, this can be a very exciting time for you as a parent. However, as you teach your child how to brush properly, there are some important do's and don'ts you should keep in mind along the way.
DO Try to Make it Fun
Generally, children will not be thrilled by the idea of brushing their teeth, so it's something you'll need to teach them the value of. You can make the experience more enjoyable for your child, however, by allowing him or her to pick out a fun tooth brush (such as one with his or her favorite cartoon character on it) along with his or her own tube of tooth paste. This helps to personalize the experience and lets your child have some fun with it.
DON'T Reward With Snacks
While rewarding your child for brushing his or her teeth (or allowing you to do so) can be a good idea from the start, it's important to ensure that what you're rewarding your child with isn't going to defeat the purpose of teaching your child excellent dental hygiene habits. This means staying away from rewarding your child with candy, soda, or other sweets after brushing. Instead, consider non-food/drink prizes, such as an extra half-hour of reading time before bed.
DO Give Them a Timer
Often times, children don't have a very good concept of time and therefore don't understand just how long they're supposed to be brushing their teeth. This is where setting up a timer on the sink while your child's teeth are being brushed can be so helpful. If you don't have a timer, you could even play your child's favorite song (as long as it's at least a couple minutes long) while you brush.
DON'T Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Finally, until your child is able to know when to spit (instead of swallowing) while brushing, it's important that you refrain from using fluoride toothpaste for your child. When swallowed in large enough amounts, fluoride toothpaste can be dangerous to one's health. Even once your child begins brushing his or her teeth on your own, it's a good idea to supervise carefully when you first introduce them to a fluoride toothpaste.
For professional dental care, contact a dental office such as Neu Family Dental Center.