If your baby or toddler isn’t showing much interest in having their teeth brushed, there is plenty you can do to swing the odds in your favor. Many parents find that their kids aren’t happy to brush their teeth or even to visit the dentist. Here are five good tips that will help you get your toddler brushing their teeth regularly.
Tip #1. First Impressions Count
If your child is still a baby, you should aim to visit a dental clinic by his or her first birthday. Although any dental clinic will accept baby patients, it’s worth finding a pediatric dentistry in your area to make the visit as smooth and as positive as possible. Try visiting the dentist before you take your child to ensure it’s the perfect match. You should see a child-friendly environment with colorful wall paintings, posters and toys that help kids feel at ease.
Tip #2. Make The Most Of Your First Visit
For babies, the first visit is just an opportunity to check that there’s nothing majorly wrong with the child’s gums or mouth. A visit will include a ride in the dentist’s ‘magic’ chair and a chance for your child to familiarize themselves with the idea of lying on their back while someone looks into their mouth. Use the time to ask the dentist and staff any questions you might have and find a quality brush and toothpaste for your child to use. To get the most out of your visit, consider a morning trip as this will be the time when your baby is at their freshest.
Tip #3. Consider Staying Outside During Later Visits
Your child is much more likely to become good at independently brushing their teeth if you stay outside during dentist visits when they are older. Some pediatric dentists and dental therapists for children encourage children to go in alone as they become toddlers. If you must go inside, always be a passive observer and let the dentist carry out the inspection. Kids are far more likely to internalize the importance of daily brushing under professional guidance. They’ll get a real confidence boost from having stayed on their own during the examination and be far more likely to practice the brushing techniques that they learnt when they get home.
Tip #4. Start A Sticker Chart
It’s amazing the number of parents who can remember receiving stars or stickers when they were at school yet never think to implement a system at home. It works very well for toddlers and will still work as they grow older. A great free site called ‘Starfall’ has a calendar activity on the homepage. Help your child through the interactive process of designing the calendar and filling in the day and date then print it out. The printed calendar makes a great sticker chart and you can give one sticker per day to reward good teeth brushing. This helps them learn numbers, days and months too.
Tip #5. Buy Customizable Toothbrushes
According to clinics specializing in child dentistry in Burlington, toddlers are far more likely to brush their teeth regularly if they get to choose their own toothbrushes and toothpaste. Most dentists recommend electric toothbrushes and some brushes come with sets of stickers. This lets kids customize their own brush and makes them far more likely to enjoy using them.