February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and we’re excited to kick things off with some tips on brushing teeth. We made a Love Your Teeth coloring sheet, that you can download and print (download PDF coloring page) for your kids as we go over one way you can love your teeth each week in February.
Creating good oral health habits for your children should start as soon as they wake up. Before breakfast, you should brush your teeth with your kids. When children learn good habits, modeling the behavior can be beneficial. Let them watch you, and then work with them on their skills.
To start, make sure you’re using a soft bristle toothbrush. If your child can spit their toothpaste in the sink, use a pea sized amount of toothpaste. If you find they’re swallowing their toothpaste, use a very small amount that is about the size of a grain of rice.
It’s a good idea to establish a consistent brushing pattern. This will ensure that all areas of the mouth are taken care of. Start at the same place, on the same side, and follow the same order when teaching your kids how to brush. For example, start on the left side with your bottom molars. Work your way around to the front bottom teeth, then the right bottom teeth. Be sure you’re paying attention to the back AND front of teeth surfaces. You’ll also want to make sure that they/you are paying attention to the gumline.
Let your kids take control and have some say. Encourage them to take turns with you so that they learn how to brush, and you make sure their teeth are being cleaned thoroughly. You can also make a game of it! You can make believe and play dentist office. Let them brush your teeth, then take a turn being the dentist and brush theirs.
You could also play follow the leader, or Simon says. You be the leader and brush an area of your teeth, then have your child follow. Or, use command games like Simon says to make sure all of the areas of their mouth get brushed.
You might also want to have a variety of toothbrushes and toothpastes on hand. That way, they have a fun choice to make every morning and evening.
As an incentive, you can display our teeth brushing chart ( download PDF chart ) in your bathroom! Let them put a sticker in each spot for morning and night when teeth are brushed, then bring it into our office and let them pick out a prize.
Another way to bring some fun to tooth brushing is to play some music! We’ve been posting two minute tooth brushing songs on our social media (link to your social media) to help make your time at the sink a little more lively.
If you have any questions, or have a topic you’d like us to write about on our blog, please let us know!