Getting an early start to oral health care is the #1 way to insure your child will develop healthy habits to last them a lifetime. Here are some helpful dental tips to start using almost from birth to begin to teach your child that healthy smiles are happy smiles.
Nursing and bottle-feeding mothers can begin the process by using a clean finger to wipe the baby’s gums post-feeding. Dad’s should be encouraged to get in on the act too all through this process. When teeth appear, get your child used to your gentle touch in their mouth by using with a damp, clean cloth or specially made wipe like Spiffies to clean off milk and food residue. (Extra tip: We recommend you identify your dental home before you actually need one and definitely before your child’s first birthday.)
As soon as your child can hold objects, give them a toothbrush and introduceit into their cleaning routine. Let your child play with their toothbrush, showing them how to brush the teeth of their favorite stuffed animal or toy, then show them how to do it on themselves. Make brushing your teeth a fun time and let your child brush your teeth, too. Needless to say, lavish praise and cheers will reinforce their budding brushing skills.
Toddlers present a variety of challenges and regular brushing may be high on that list. Your once compliant baby, is now a terror-filled “No Monster” and brushing their teeth has become a battle. What’s most important is brushing regularly not how much time is spent brushing. Ten seconds twice a day, everyday can be expanded easily over time. Fighting to do a full two minutes of brushing will bring negative results and undo all the good work you have done to date. Try singing their favorite song or playing two minutes of fun music to get them into the brushing groove. If all else fails, using rewards like extra reading time, a fun sticker or stamp on a reward chart can go a long way towards helping your child make good oral health care decisions.
The bottom line is when you make oral health care a fun experience for the entire family, you’re all on your way to creating healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Do you have any tips or ideas on how to make learning to brush teeth regularly fun? Please share you favorite tips below.