Tooth Brushing Tips for Tots
Caring for your child's pearly whites
Think of something your child really likes and apply it to dental hygiene. If your daughter adores animals, look in her mouth and pronounce, “It’s a jungle in there!” She can growl like a ferocious tiger while you brush the front teeth and open wide like an alligator to get those back teeth. Make it fun!
Is your child reluctant to let you brush? Switch roles! Give your brush to your little one and let him brush your teeth first—then you can return the favor. Laugh and giggle while your teeth are being cleaned so your child sees how enjoyable it can be!
Some children like having parents count slowly as their teeth are brushed; this can be relaxing, and the child can anticipate when you will be finished by counting silently with you, knowing that once you reach 10, time is up. You can also try counting the child’s teeth aloud: “Tooth Number One is sparkling clean!”
Brushing with a favorite stuffed animal can be fun! Try designating a toothbrush specifically for your child to use to brush teddy’s teeth, then you brush your child’s teeth. Have your little one demonstrate good tooth-brushing habits to his or her play friend.
Is your toddler unmotivated to keep his teeth clean? Try that time-tested technique of giving a sticker on a chart as a reward for a tooth-brushing job well done. Perhaps after a certain number of stickers earned he can choose a new toothbrush as a prize.
Does your two-year-old insist on doing everything for herself? If so, don’t fight her! Let her go at those teeth with her brush first, doing the best she can. When she’s finished, you can give her teeth a quick once-over, maybe even letting her hold the brush with you. Be silly: “I think you missed a watermelon back there!”
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