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Getting Your Child to Brush Their Teeth


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Getting your child to brush their teeth sounds simple enough, right? But if you've ever had to hold a struggling toddler down to brush their teeth than you know it's easier said than done. For whatever reason, some kids just hate to brush or have their teeth brushed. However, the alternative of not brushing leads to a whole host of problems like rotten teeth.

Get Them Started Early

To establish good oral habits in your child, start cleaning their teeth from the start. In fact, the American Dental Association suggests that you begin cleaning your baby's mouth the first few days after birth. The ADA recommends that you take a wet washcloth and clean your baby's gums after each feeding.

After those first teeth appear, take a cotton ball and gently clean each tooth. Your baby will become accustomed to you cleaning their teeth and will be less resistant as they get older.

Follow these Rules

Most children don't have the capacity to correctly brush their teeth until the age of six and need your assistance. When brushing your child's teeth remember. . .

  • Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush as larger amounts tend to create excessive foam making it more difficult for your child to brush.

  • Make sure that your child gets in the habit of spitting out the toothpaste. Swallowing toothpaste on a consistent basis can lead to a condition known as fluorosis, in which spots may appear on your child's teeth.

  • Be careful of the toothpaste you use. Almost all toothpastes contain harsh flavorings that adults barely notice, but that can sting young mouths. Choose toothpaste designed for young children and a flavor that your child likes. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right flavor for your child.

    Make it Fun!

    Many children just don't like to brush their teeth because it isn't fun or takes away time from more desirable activities. Try and make brushing their teeth a fun activity.

  • Let your child brush your teeth. You should laugh a lot and make it a fun activity. Then allow them to “brush" their own teeth. Finish by brushing your child's teeth.

  • Have your child brush their favorite doll's teeth before you brush theirs. Remember always allow them to “brush" their own teeth and then follow up by brushing their teeth correctly.

  • Hang a piece of bright construction paper on the bathroom wall. Each time your child has a thorough brushing, he or she can choose a sticker or star and put it on the poster.

  • Get a toothbrush or toothpaste with their favorite character on it. Or better yet purchase one of those toothbrushes that light up or play music. These toothbrushes are fun and usually have a timer on them to let the kids know how long to brush.

    Remember instilling good brushing habits now will stay with your child for the rest of their life and preserve those beautiful smiles that parents love so much!

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