Advice Column, Health, Parenting

Get your kids excited about brushing

By Philips Oral Health

Every parent wants what’s best for their child’s health, but not all parents are experts in the dentistry field and let’s be honest, we can’t remember brushing our teeth at such a young age and the process is quite different now as an adult. What’s more, brushing your teeth as an adult is a routine activity – a dull process – so if we’re not that excited, how do we get our kids excited about it? Our challenge as parents is to promote good oral health and hygiene to our kids at a young age – rather than getting frustrated trying to convince them to brush properly. 

Good oral health goes beyond having a nice smile – its fundamentally intertwined with overall well-being. Dental practitioners have long been aware of the relationship between the mouth and the body and poor oral health and gum disease has been associated with several non-communicable diseases – so it’s important that while the kids are young, parents are focusing on instilling life-long good oral habits. 

Most parents are doing the brushing of their children’s teeth while they are young and until they have developed their motor skills. But demonstrating proper brushing techniques and making the process as fun and creative a possible is critical. Not only is it’s a good learning processes, but a bonding experience as well.

So how do you kick start an exciting path to lifelong health oral habits? We have a few tips and tricks to take care of your little one’s oral health: 

  • Teach them the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth from a young age. Dental care for children should start as soon as they start developing teeth.
  • Get the right size toothbrush – a long handle may be needed if they are a little reluctant to open their mouths wide – but funky toothbrushes can go a long way.
  • Sing a song, tell a story or watch a movie/video to make tooth brushing fun – this also ensures that they brush for the recommended two minutes.
  • Make sure that you know the right technique of tooth brushing because your child will follow your example
  • When they are younger you can brush their teeth by standing behind them or having them sit on your lap. As they get older they will naturally want to brush themselves – just make sure that they are brushing properly
  • Let them stand on a step or stool to face the mirror and do not forget to teach them to brush their tongue as well as it is a popular hiding place for bacteria
  • Stick to a routine – make sure they don’t miss their daily teeth brushing routine twice a day – in the morning and before bed so there are no excuses.
  • If your children are 6 years and older, alcohol-free mouthwash can be used after they have brushed their teeth as it flushes out any additional bacteria – but remember to get the flavour they like!
  • Make brushing fun again by using an electronic toothbrush as these are more effective than they’ll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your children’s gums from aggressive brushing. 
  • An annual dental check-up is essential – so make sure to find a dentist that they like. It should never be a dreaded visit.

Remember you are their role model of good oral hygiene – so the more fun you have, the more you use brushing time to bond – the more likely they get excited about brushing! 

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