Toothbrush Academy – Top Tips to get your kids cleaning like a pro.

Baby teeth will all fall out eventually, so it’s not a big deal if we leave teaching good oral care until school age, right?

WRONG!

Not only is it imperative to begin oral hygiene habits early so they are imbedded in your child’s daily routine as early as possible, it’s imperative that their little first teeth remain healthy and happy. These teeth are place holders for the teeth to come, the healthier they are, the more likely the teeth that follow will be healthy too.  Cavities in baby teeth can be traumatic (and expensive) to repair the process can leave a lasting bad impression of the dentist on your youngster that will travel with them in to adulthood. A fear of the dentist does not bode well for good oral hygiene in the future for your little one when they grow up!

 

It’s Never too early!

Even before those teeth start bursting through you can clean teething baby’s gums with a flannel or soft cloth to get Little One used to the idea of something being in their mouth.  If you’re interested, training toothbrush sets that are bristle-free or have soft rubber bristles to massage the gums and get toddlers familiar with the sensation of their teeth being brushed are available commercially. Moving onto an early toothbrush soon after and helping them clean their teeth until they can do it themselves, can be a great way to encourage good habits before children are old enough to protest. Setting up good habits early is the goal. Having your child used to brushing and flossing twice a day everyday will be the one of the best habits you can instil.

Teach your child to;

  • brush twice a day after food for two minutes
  • floss at least once a day

Get the technique right.

While we want this to be fun, it still needs to be beneficial. Scrubbing back and forward along the front of the teeth isn’t going to do much good.

The  6 steps below show you how to brush your teeth correctly.

  1. Aim the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line.
  2. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  3. Use a gentle circular motion, this will loosen the most debris. Repeat on the inside surfaces.
  4. Use a light back and forth motion on the chewing surfaces.
  5. Brush for 2 minutes (30 seconds per quadrant) inside and outside to get a thorough clean without over doing it. (Note: while 2 minutes is recommended, if your child has 2 teeth, you won’t need to brush for that long, discretion is yours here).
  6. Spit out the toothpaste after brushing.
    You do not need to rinse, as the small amount of fluoridated toothpaste left in your mouth after spitting continues to protect against tooth decay.

Note: Electric toothbrushes also do a good job of cleaning teeth.


Now the floss!

You may have to help with this for a while. Flossing can begin once the teeth start to touch, no matter how well you brush your child’s teeth, if they are touching, flossing is the best way to remove food or plaque from between those little teeth. Pull the floss along the edge of both teeth at each juncture to make sure any trapped food has been loosened.

 Brushy-brush

Get into the good habit of looking after your toothbrush. Have your child rinse off the toothbrush and store it in a cool place to dry out. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months or when they show signs of wear.

 Now that you’re clear on what to achieve, let’s make it fun and effective at the same time!

  1.  Choose your weapons! -Let your child pick out a toothbrush.

The joy of choosing your very own toothbrush, there are so many cool ones available now. If using a toothbrush chosen personally works to make tooth time happy, then I’m a fan!

2. This is the way we brush our teeth! Brush together.

Kids love to mimic and play. If there is an opportunity for you to brush your teeth together, make it happen! Your child will adore doing something the grown-ups do!

3.  Make it fun! Use a ‘brushing’ song.

One of the most common mistakes parents make is not having children brush for long enough. Using a brushing song is a great idea for timing the process. Here is a simple one that everyone will know the tune for, there are lots of suggestions on Google for songs and rhymes that may appeal to you and your children, just pick one that’s around 2 minutes long.

The Toothbrush Song (to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)

Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them every day.
We put toothpaste on our brush
To help stop tooth decay.

Floss, floss, floss your teeth.
Floss them every day!
Using the string to clean between
Keeps the plaque away!

Clean, clean, clean your teeth.
Clean them every day!
Your teeth will sparkle for years to come
In the most beautiful way!

Brush, brush, brush your teeth.
Brush them every day!
Happy, healthy teeth you’ll have
If it’s done this way.

 

5. Follow the leader – Lead by Example

Kids love to imitate others, so what better way to teach great habits than to show them how you do it. Make a family routine so they can see that you are doing the right thing too. This is great opportunity for helping them get it right, showing them how to get those hard to reach places.

6. Teddy’s turn! – Let them Practice

While it may not be your idea of a fun Friday night, letting your child brush your teeth will be fun for them, and you’ll probably end up giggling all over the bathroom floor in the process, bonus!  If you’re not thinking that’s a good idea, maybe buy a toothbrush for teddy, and your little one can practice on them instead. They could sing Teddy the Brushing song!

7. Technology kid – Download an App.

There’s an app for everything, right? There are many apps available, one is a phone app called Nurdle Time (free download) that can profile up to 5 people. You just need to activate the profile at brush time and an animated song begins encouraging good tooth brushing habits. The song goes for the prerequisite two minutes. Once you stop either at the end of the song or earlier, star points are given that can be used to download free outfit upgrades for your Nurdle character. Incentives galore here!

8. Squad goals! Use a Rewards chart

Sometimes it helps to provide kids with a small incentive to achieve their goals, so a rewards Chart may be just what the dentist ordered. You can create a basic one yourself or download and decide how you want to reward the behaviour. Small goals to start can usually help, building up as the routine becomes more established. You may decide a whole week of brushing morning and night gives your child access to a special reward, such as a trip to the park or some time to play with a toy that is only for good behaviour – just don’t reward with sweets!
Fun makes everything better so use your imagination, get creative and get those kids brushing with joy!