Fewer children in the U.S. are getting cavities. This is because there are more resources and education for parents to care for their child’s teeth.
In addition, more parents are preventing their kids from eating sweets and unhealthy food that causes cavities and other ailments.
But convincing your child to make smarter dental choices isn’t easy.
Take toddlers for example. They tend to get distracted and non-compliant when establishing a routine, including an oral health routine. It’s also hard to brush their little toddler teeth.
Don’t worry, brushing toddler’s teeth isn’t impossible. Continue reading to know how to brush toddler teeth.
Why Proper Toddler Brushing Techniques Are Important?
Your child’s teeth are growing and their mouth is always changing. But even bacteria can grow on their little teeth and gums. This makes developing a proper brushing technique even more important.
You should start getting into a routine when they’re only a year old. Use an infant-sized toothbrush with warm water at first.
By the time they’re a year and a half, you can start introducing toothpaste. When they’re three years old, you can introduce flossing.
How to Brush Toddler Teeth
Are you properly brushing your child’s teeth? If you’re unsure, read this recommended teeth brushing method specifically for toddlers.
Start by squeezing a small amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush. Since toddler’s teeth are still small, it’s best you use a gentle infant toothbrush until they get their adult teeth in.
Should they brush? No. It’s best you brush their teeth so the child doesn’t make any mistake. This also helps them to learn how to brush and gives you the peace of mind that their teeth are brushed.
Have your child sit or stand in front of you. Ideally, their back should face you and their head should lean back toward you. This way, you get a good view of their mouth, teeth, and gums. Make sure they’re comfortable.
Place the toothbrush gently on their teeth. Start with the bottom teeth first. Place the toothbrush on their teeth and gently start brushing in a circular motion. Make sure you brush their gums, too!
Move the toothbrush. Get the outsides and insides of their bottom and top teeth. Brush their gums as good as you can.
Spit out the toothpaste. From here, your child can spit out the toothpaste. Tell them to also swish clean water in their mouth to remove the extra toothpaste from their mouth. Teach them early on to not swallow the toothpaste.
What About Flossing?
Your child doesn’t need to start flossing until they’re three years old. At this age, more teeth are growing and their teeth start touching each other. Bacteria can grow in-between the teeth, so it’s best you remove all plaque early.
You should floss first. Since flossing can be painful, it’s best to let your child floss their own teeth and you can teach them.
How to Make Brushing More Fun
Toddlers are unpredictable. They make want to eat the toothpaste, lie about brushing their teeth, and even throw a fit.
As a parent, you shouldn’t force them to brush their teeth. Rather, make the experience fun. Here’s some advice.
Make It a Competition
This is a fun game for you and your child. If you have multiple children, have them compete. Set a timer and see who brushes their teeth the best in that amount of time. You can also see who can reach the two-minute mark.
You can also have your child compete against themselves and set goals. Good goals include brushing their teeth for two minutes instead of one.
Brush Your Teeth
While this may be a silly (and messy!) game, it’s a fun way to encourage children to brush. Say, “I brushed yours, now brush mine!”
Sure, they might think it’s funny to brush your cheek or pour toothpaste in your mouth. Let them be kids and have fun. But always try and make them stay on track by coaching them on proper brushing techniques.
Does this make you uncomfortable? We don’t blame you! You can always suggest your child brushes their favorite stuffed animal’s teeth. Say something like, “I brushed your teeth, now your toy needs clean teeth!”
Brush to Music
We should brush our teeth for two minutes. Instead of taking out the stopwatch, find a song your child loves that’s about two minutes in length. Make it a routine to brush to that full song.
Your child will get excited to listen to their song and will happily brush their teeth. Singing and dancing are also encouraged!
Are you a musical family? Create your own teeth brushing song or play an instrument such as the piano or guitar. Have your child sing and dance while brushing.
Tell a Story
Does your child love bedtime stories? Who says you have the read them their story while they’re in bed? Read them a story while they’re brushing their teeth.
Find a short book that will only take two minutes to read, or read the first half while they’re brushing and the second when they’re done.
You can also tell a tooth brushing story. Tell a heroic tale about the Knight Toothbrush defeating the evil Cavity Wizard, or whatever your imagination can think of.
Purchase Character Toothbrushes
If all else fails, buy a character toothbrush and toothpaste. Children idolize cartoon characters and other characters from their favorite movies and TV shows.
They will see their favorite characters on their oral health products and they will want to brush.
Say something like, “the dogs from Paw Patrol brush their teeth and you should, too!” This will encourage them to brush their teeth just like their idols.
Take Your Child to the Dentist!
Now that you know how to brush toddler teeth, do you need to take your child to the dentist? If you’re based in the Dallas area, we’re the dentists your child will love and you will trust. Request an appointment to get your child’s teeth cleaned.