Every year, children lose millions of school hours because of dental-related issues -- making tooth decay the most common chronic childhood disease.
It’s so important for you, as parents, to demonstrate healthy oral hygiene habits to your children. Brush your teeth with them twice a day, so they can model your behaviour and learn the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums.
If you don’t teach them the proper way to brush, how will they ever learn how to do it themselves? Show them how to brush the outer surface of their teeth along the gum line, using a gentle circular motion, and brush the chewing surfaces of their teeth with a scrubbing motion. Then teach them how to brush the insides of their front teeth by holding the brush vertically, and using short up-and-down strokes.
If your child is fighting to be finished before they’ve really started, try distracting them by singing a song while they brush. It’s important to brush for a solid two minutes in order to do a good job.
Don’t forget to floss with them once a day, to remove plaque and food particles from between their teeth and below the gumline. If your child isn’t flossing, they’re actually missing up to 30% of their teeth surface -- making them vulnerable to cavities!
If your child lacks the coordination to use traditional dental floss — which can be tricky for little fingers — let them use plastic-handler flossing devices. You can even buy kids’ ones with their favourite cartoon characters, which makes it more fun.
Your child might look like they’ve got the right idea with brushing, but it’s not until they’re nine or 10 that they actually have the manual dexterity to do a proper job. Let them brush their own teeth and do their best, and then take the brush for a quick “final check” to make sure they’ve gotten every nook and cranny. As long as you applaud their efforts and ensure them you’re “getting the tough spots,” they shouldn’t have a problem with it.
We’re here to help you and your family build lifelong habits, so please let us know if you have any questions about kids brushing and flossing!