06 Feb Let’s Talk Teeth Brushing Tips with Dr. Krista Kunz of Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, SC
February is 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 for your kiddos as we go over one way you can love your teeth each week in February.
Creating good dental habits for your children should start in the morning. You should brush your teeth with your kiddos. The best way for children to learn good habits is by modeling the behavior. Let them watch you, and then work with them on their skills.
To start with, make sure you’re using a soft bristle toothbrush. For children ages 3-6, use a pea sized amount of toothpaste. Kids under the age of six are not able to spit consistently, so it’s important not to let them ingest too much toothpaste. For little ones under 3, use a very small amount that is about the size of a grain of rice. My husband once pointed out that there is a size difference between a cooked, long grain of rice and an uncooked, medium grain of rice. I told him an uncooked, medium grain is what I recommend.
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 everyone is 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. I often ask my 3-year-old son, Jared, if he wants to brush the top or the bottom first. 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 dentist and brush theirs. I encourage you to have your kids lay down on the couch or bed at night, so you can see what you are brushing better. Copy what we do at the office!
You could also play follow the leader or simon says. You be the leader and brush an area of your teeth, then have your kiddo follow. Use command games like simon says to make sure all of the areas of their mouth get brushed. Simon says don’t forget to brush your tongue!
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 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 to help make your time at the sink a little more lively.
If you have any brushing resistance, you can always bring them into our office for a brushing lesson and a talk about sugar bugs and cavities.
If you have any questions, or have a topic you’d like us to write about on our blog, please let us know!