Brushing teeth can be a monumental struggle for parents with young kids. The concept of standing still for two minutes is hard enough, but if they don’t like the sensation of the brush on their teeth or of the toothpaste texture or taste, it can be a task to get them to do it once, much less every single day.
Plus, some toothpaste can’t be swallowed, and that can be hard for young kids to understand. So, what is the best time to introduce toothpaste to kids and how do you ensure they like it? They shouldn’t equate teeth brushing to going to a pediatric dentist in Dallas after all!
For one, toothpaste should have fluoride. When children are too young to understand they have to spit the toothpaste out, many adults go for a non-fluoride option, as swallowing fluoride excessively can lead to tooth damage. Once the child can spit the toothpaste out, then they can start using brands with fluoride in them.
The toothpaste should also be a flavor that most children enjoy, or maybe even no flavor at all. Sometimes having a plain white toothpaste can be enough to satisfy pickier children, while flavors like fruit and bubblegum can make kids want to brush their teeth for longer.
Also, ensure that they put the correct amount of toothpaste on their brush, and adults might need to help out in this regard. They should put on a blob the size of the grain of rice and then upgrade to the size of a pea.
How to pick a Toothbrush
Now comes the time to pick out a toothbrush, every kid has a favorite character or color they want adorning their brush, but which brush will be the most effective at cleaning your mouth. When you look for a children’s toothbrush, be sure to find one that your children will be able to use and manipulate comfortably.
Brush heads should be small, and the bristles should be soft. Brushing teeth isn’t about strength as much as finesse, and that should be one of the lessons you teach your kids. Soft bristles will allow for teeth to be brushed firmly without causing any gum damage.
If the kids love their toothbrushes and love using them, then you can tell them they need to brush twice a day and floss regularly, as well as let them develop their own habits for cleaning their teeth. Keep a close eye on their brushes though, as frayed bristles can indicate that a new one is needed.
Adding a bit more power
Electric toothbrushes can also be a fun way to brush teeth and ensure they brush for the full two minutes. Many of them play music, make sounds, or otherwise indicate how far along the brushing process is to teach kids how long two minutes can be.
Graduating to an electric toothbrush from a manual can be a big step for kids, so be sure to make it a big deal. This is a rite of teeth cleaning passage, and the more they see it that way, the more likely they’ll be to keep brushing.