Babies can easily develop tooth decay if proper oral hygiene isn’t established earlier enough. Although getting our kids to brush their teeth can be challenging, it only takes a few days for them to develop a habit. But how can we, as parents, start and establish healthy teeth brushing routine for our little tots?
When to Start the Dental Routine
Generally, most parents think that dental routine can only begin if your young one has grown some primary teeth. This isn’t right. Dental care should begin even before the baby’s teeth appear. For starters, I used to run a clean and damp washcloth over my baby’s gum in order to eliminate harmful bacteria. But once the baby starts teething, get them a soft toothbrush designed for kids.
Note: always use a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste which has been approved by the American Dental Association.
Tips on How to Create a Healthy Teeth Brushing Routine for Children
This is a vital and critical aspect of establishing good oral hygiene habit. Assemble all the necessary tools which include brushes, toothpaste, and a glass or two. For my kids, I’d purchase different types of brushes for versatility
Brushing teeth should be done at least twice every day, in the morning and in the evening. To make it a proper routine, I used to set a specific time for it, for instance, 8 AM and 8 PM.
Note: teeth brushing routine is often longer in the mornings compared to evenings. This is because in the evenings’ babies are usually tired and the last thing they want is to do is brush teeth. Although they can be cranky in the mornings, you have more hours to entice and encourage them.
3. Establish a Sequence:
I have realized that having a pattern helps to create a habit and definitely a routine, especially with kids. While assisting them, talk to your child. I used to tell my kids things like – you need to start with “this” and then go “here” and finish with “this”.
4. Be Fun and Positive:
In order to create a successful routine, make dental hygiene a fun and enjoyable task. Play some cool music in the background, tell them a story about baby shark’s teeth and so on.
5. Be a Model:
Remember that kids learn from adults. If you want them to have good dental habits, brush your teeth with them and show them how to swish water.
6. Let them do It Occasionally:
Learning can only be successful if it involves practicals. So, allow them to do it on their own occasionally. Sometimes I used to ask my babies to help me brush my teeth. It’s all fun when they think they can do it just like us.
Steps Involved in Teeth Brushing Routine
In order to successfully establish teeth brushing routine for kids, you need to create an effective game-plan for them. So how can you establish it?
- Always stand or sit behind them so that they can feel secure. You can do it in front of the mirror. This allows the child to see their mouth and brush movements. Since they are great imitators, your child will soon try to do this on their own.
- Ensure that your baby’s chin is cupped in your hands. Their head should slightly rest against your body for comfort and security.
- The toothbrush’s bristles should be angled towards the gum. To clean your baby’s teeth, gently move the brush in small circles in order to clean the gums together with the inner and outer sides of the teeth. Don’t forget to brush their tongue.
- Ask them to spit everything out then use water to rinse the mouth
These steps are supposed to be followed for morning and night routine. The only difference between them is timing. The morning routine should always be after breakfast while the evening routine should be right before your child goes to bed.
When Should Children Be Able to Do It Alone?
Children can only be able to perfectly brush their teeth once they have fully developed motor skills. Teeth brushing requires coordination between various mental faculties. Although preschoolers can still do a good job, it’s not enough. They need assistance from time to time. Kids are usually able to perfectly brush their own teeth when they reach 6-9 years.
Creating teeth brushing routine shouldn’t be boring. There are numerous dental activities which can be used to enhance this process and make your little one to always look forward to it. You can play various songs that relate to brushing teeth, tell a story or recite a poem, make faces etc.