Teaching Your Child to Brush

Early childhood tooth decay is a threat to your little ones

Early childhood tooth decay is a real threat to your little ones. The CDC reports that up to 42% of children have had cavities in their teeth. If left unchecked, these cavities can cause pain and dental sensitivity that can make it hard for your child to eat healthy foods. This is one of the reasons why teaching your child to brush and floss effectively is so important. As with anything else, teaching your child healthy habits at an early age can make it easier for them as they grow. Research has proven that it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. 

The entire staff at Smile Time Kids LOVES children. We want to help you in making well-informed decisions for your child’s health and well-being. We enjoy their budding personalities and their constant search for answers. We are a compassionate, caring, and patient team when working with your child. Their young smiles are important to us. Call us today at 765-373-3100 with any questions you have regarding your child or stop by Smile Time Kids at 1002 Oak Drive, Richmond, IN, 47374.

Remember Their Technique Is Crucial

Technique is crucial when it comes to preventing dental decay. Teach your child to brush twice a day and to spend at least two minutes gently brushing their teeth. Talk with your child about working in circular motions and sweeping away grime that may have accumulated near the gum line at a 45° angle.

An Oral Hygiene Guide for Your Child

Here is a dental care guide for children, what to look for as a parent, and how to make brushing fun for your child.

  • Infants- You can start healthy oral hygiene habits before your child even has teeth. Babies’ mouths can collect oral bacteria and food residues just like older children. The American Dental Association recommends wiping down your baby’s gums after each feeding with a piece of clean, wet gauze.
  • Toddlers 1-2- Children should come see Smile Time Kids by the time they are one or when they get their first tooth, whichever comes first. Between the ages of one and two, you should help your child to brush with a child’s toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to use an exceedingly small amount of children's toothpaste. It tastes better, so your child is more likely to enjoy the experience, and it is less dangerous to ingest than adult's toothpaste.
  • Children 3-5- As soon as your child has two teeth that touch each other, you should start teaching them how to floss. Children’s flossing picks are a good option, since they have child-sized handles. They also do not need your child to hold slippery floss and will go between their teeth easily. Between the ages of three and five, your child should be brushing with a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste.
  • Children Over 6- By the time a child is six years old, they should be able to start brushing and flossing on their own. It is always a good idea to confirm that your child has brushed their teeth and that they are reaching their molars. It can be a good idea to challenge your child to brush the length of their favorite song, to make sure they are brushing all their teeth.

Several Ways to Make Brushing Fun

  • Let Your Child Choose Their Supplies- Children are much more likely to get excited about brushing and flossing their teeth when they like the supplies they are using. Instead of choosing run-of-the-mill oral hygiene supplies, consider splurging and letting your child choose. That character toothbrush or that neon green variety they adore are just as effective as the generic brands. It may surprise you to see how much more excited a child can be about brushing when they get to do it with a bright purple toothbrush with a picture of a princess on it.
  • Try Plaque Detection Tablets- Children are more inquisitive than people realize. Explaining the “why” behind your instructions can be quite beneficial. To help your child see that invisible plaque, buy some plaque detection tablets, and hold a family meeting to talk about brushing. Plaque detection tablets use bright food-safe dyes to color plaque, showing your child where to focus their brush strokes.
  • Make It A Challenge and Offer Rewards- Once your child is in the habit of brushing and flossing their teeth, it will become easier to get them to do it twice a day. Consider offering your child challenges centered around brushing and flossing. You can also give them a small reward as an incentive to take care of their smiles.

Make an Appointment for Your Child Today!

Smile Time Kids would like to share the recommendations of The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. They suggest bringing your child in for their first dental appointment as soon as their first tooth erupts or by the time your child is one, whichever occurs first. We will work with your child and treat them like family. We love happy and healthy children. Afterwards, children should visit at normal intervals just like you would schedule your own dental checkups. Call 765-373-3100 today to make an appointment with Smile Time Kids. Our office is located at 1002 Oak Drive, Richmond, IN 47374. Let us keep teach your child to brush and we will keep them healthy together.