Dental care is important for people of all ages and none more so that young children. Getting your children into the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day, as early on as you can, is essential for establishing a good routine. Although it might not always be easy, perseverance is the key!
As soon as your baby’s teeth start to come through, you should try and start brushing them. There are special baby toothbrushes that are gentle on their gums, use a tiny smear of age appropriate toothpaste with this. The earlier you start, the better. It doesn’t matter if you don’t manage to brush much at first; the idea is to get your baby used to having their teeth brushed as part of their daily routine.
Set a good example by getting your children to watch you brush your teeth, so that they can see it’s a normal, and important thing to do.
For babies and toddlers up to three years old, use a small smear of toothpaste, then increase to a pea-sized amount for age’s three to six. Brushing your child’s teeth may be a little bit of trial and error to start with, especially when finding a comfortable position.
With a baby, you might find sitting them on your knee with their head resting against your chest is a good position, while with older children standing behind them and tilting their head slightly backwards may be easiest. Brush the teeth in small circles, covering all the surfaces and encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after.
Not all children will like having their teeth brushed, so you may have to find ways to get around this. Make it into a game, distract them while you’re doing it or brush your teeth at the same time so they can copy you.
Even though they may want to brush their teeth themselves, it’s a good idea to carry on helping your children until you’re sure they can do it well enough on their own, and supervise them so you know they’re using the right amount of toothpaste and spitting it out. They might not be keen to begin with, but patience is key. Try explaining why they need to clean their teeth when they are old enough to understand.