The ABCs of Healthy Smiles: Basics of Brushing for Kids
Did you know that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month? This month-long health observance is all about promoting the benefits of good oral health. This year’s slogan is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.” We couldn’t agree more! We want to help you and your family start a lifetime of healthy habits and keep your kids smiling! Along with a healthy diet and regular visits to the dentist, getting your kids to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes is the place to start. Sometimes keeping your kids on a healthy track can be tricky, so we decided to share some of our basic brushing tips for kids. It can be as easy as ABC!
Start brushing your children’s teeth when they first appear with a small, soft-bristled brush. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend using an amount of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice for children under the age of 3. For children 3 and older, toothpaste the size of a pea is recommended. Help your children brush every tooth surface: inside, outside, and the chewing surface. For more tips and a helpful video, check out the ADA’s Mouth Healthy Website.
Make it Fun!
Toothbrush dance party? Yes, please! There are lots of ways to make those two minutes enjoyable. Start by letting your child pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. There are lots of bright colors and cool characters to choose from, and some yummy and even sparkly fluoride toothpaste flavors out there. Just make sure they choose a toothbrush and toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval.
When it’s time to brush, put on a favorite song and have a mini-dance party. Here are some fun teeth-brushing songs to check out. You can also read a silly story with characters your child loves to encourage brushing. Playing pretend works, too: your child is a superhero brushing away “the bad guys.” Ka-Pow! Being creative and making the task feel like a game rather than a chore helps kids keep it up.
Reward Good Brushing Behavior.
It can be helpful to think about what motivates your child and give them an opportunity to earn a reward every time they brush. Maybe it’s as simple as giving them a high-five, or maybe they get a sticker each time. Positive reinforcement can go a long way with your children, so remember to offer lots of encouragement when they brush. Those teeth are going to look terrific!
Make it a Family Routine.
You are your child’s best teacher and best example. Show them how you brush and floss your teeth each day. Bring them to the dentist with you so they get comfortable with the experience of visiting the dentist. When your children see you have good oral health habits, they will pick it up, too!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health or need to schedule an appointment for them, give us a call at 207.781.5900. We are here to help your family have great oral health and happy, healthy smiles!
*Image courtesy of www.pioneerschool.us