"5 Tips for Making Brushing Your Toddler's and Kid's Teeth Fun and Stress-Free"
Today's topic is non-orthodontic related: Brushing Toddler's and Kid's teeth! I have so many parents as patients and of course see a lot of children that need some help with brushing techniques.
These are some personal tips:
You should be brushing your baby/toddler's teeth as soon as teeth come into the mouth. This can be starting at about 6 months. I love electric toothbrushes for babies, toddlers, and kids. The Oral B brand has small, round heads to get around small teeth. You need to do a very thin smear of toothpaste since toddlers are not able to spit out, so just enough to cover the bristles. I started with Aquafresh toothpaste since I like that it foams up and I feel it gets around the teeth better. A lot of kids won't tolerate minty toothpaste and another good option is Tom's of Maine strawberry.
Toddlers that don't like to brush:
Sit them up on the counter next to the sink so you can see their teeth better. Distract, distract, distract and talk non-stop while you are brushing! Do you hear that big truck outside...what noise does the tiger make...who throws the basketball up high...how does the turkey gobble...let's put princess sparkles on your teeth...I'm painting red trucks on your back teeth with the toothbrush...
Give them commands while you are brushing: put the water on, put the water off, grab the towel, press the button to turn on the toothbrush. Again, you are just distracting.
If they start to cry that's honestly not a bad thing, since you can then see the teeth to brush them. You need about 20 seconds to brush with an electric toothbrush!
If they want to keep their mouth closed, sneak your finger in the side at the cheek (not in between the teeth!! Don't get bit!). Once you sneak your finger in, pull the cheek out and then you can get the brush in. They will open their mouth eventually and then brush quickly.
Kids that don't like to brush:
Have them stand on the step stool at the sink if they are younger and stand to the side of them. Wrap your arm around their head to stabilize the head. The head can rest on the nook of your arm. If you are taller, then stand behind the child and the child's head can rest on your belly. Then use the same distraction techniques as the toddlers. Talk incessantly and ask silly questions! 30 seconds needed.
You should be helping your child brush their teeth until ages 7-8 years or until they are able to maneuver the toothbrush well by themselves. Again, I highly recommend an electric toothbrush with a small head.
Tooth Fairy Program:
We have a really fun Tooth Fairy program for our younger patients that are losing baby teeth. We want to make sure that all kiddos are keeping their teeth happy and healthy. The Program is open to anyone in the DMV area - just fill out the form or send us an email and your child gets a special gift in the mail from the Tooth Fairy for losing a tooth! :) It's really cute and the kids get such a kick out of it. We just got the Tooth Fairy Residence in our office so be sure to check out the little house when you're in for your next visit!
I would like to see all children around the ages of 7-8 for an orthodontic evaluation (see prior blog) to make sure that the jaws are developing normally and that the adult teeth are coming in properly.
Dr. Crissy Markova