03 Jul How do you teach kids to brush teeth?
It will be nice if children can relax when the toothbrush is out, right? Well there are some kids who like it especially the tooth paste, but for most children it is not a happy moment to have to open their mouth to be cleaned. Children may not understand that when they don’t brush plaque full of germs abound in their mouth and lead to cavities. My son’s dentist made it clear that we should brush his teeth twice daily and each time for 2 minutes. We should brush all over from his front teeth, and top of the teeth using short, gentle strokes, and paying attention to the gum areas and the hard-to-reach back teeth.
When was the last time you tried to accomplish this task and for two minutes and your kid started crying? I do wonder why the tears and that has been my experience. In my household we have tried to brush our teeth together as a happy family brushing teeth time that way the kids can understand it is the routine and not cry but it is not always working.
The secret is that the more we practice the more children get to understand the structure and at some point even look forward to the practice. There was a time when I was brushing in front of a mirror and placed my daughter where she can see herself brushing. This method worked for a few weeks until she did not want any of that again. I also try to let my children hold the brush so they can actually get used to the brush and I teach them by showing them how I brush. I brush with them present and then I teach them to brush their tongue to remove germs and for fresher breath. While some kids respond to chewing on the toothbrush especially when they barely have teeth or teething others may throw away the brush once it is close to their mouth. For some children though they are ok with opening their mouth and having you move the tooth brush inside their mouth, but trust me, even as an adult most of us don’t like going to the dentist, it is after all not fun though I still do so every 6 months.
With my children I still struggle to complete the two minutes and two times daily brushing of teeth, if you ask me as long as you get a kid’s teeth brushed at least once daily you are doing better than most of the mothers I know. I think it is important to continue to keep the teeth brushing short until your child gets used to the either of brushing. I am still learning how to make brushing teeth a more comfortable experience for my children and singing works as it also drowns the sound of the crying a bit and does distract the child positively.
One of the things I have made sure that my children don’t get is candies. I know children love candies especially the hard candies but our dentist was clear that these candies are actually damaging to their teeth. At home I try to add vegetables to the menu including carrots, greens, as well as dairy products. How about what my children are drinking? I have always enjoyed drinking water myself and while there are some benefits to drinking juice, water remains the best choice for children when compared to juice or soda.
The benefits of brushing teeth are numerous including healthier teeth, fewer dental issues, good breath, fewer cavities and bright teeth. With kids it is important to find fun ways to make brushing exciting. The good news is that children do grow to see the need for brushing and they actually get to the get when they can brush alone. When children brush they should always spit out the toothpaste when they’re done. Many kids swallow it. When kids are brushing they should place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums and move the brush back and forth, gently and in short strokes.
We have made the song ‘Brush Your Teeth’ as a Kachy TV song that stimulates brushing teeth and educate children with interesting animal characters. There are other songs that help make brushing an attractive activity for children. You can check out our video here for free. Good luck to all mothers who continue to brush their children’s teeth.
About the author
Rita Izu- is passionate about writing and supporting other women in her community to have a voice in their world. As a mother, a nurse and a home maker Rita believes that every woman has a talent which she needs to find and use to make her life and the life of her family fun and more interesting. She enjoys creating a warm, nurturing and loving home for her family. Rita is resourceful and innovative about the impact mothers, teachers and women can make in the lives of their children and family.