We parents would like to have a magic wand or a button to get the kids to automatically brush their teeth with enthusiasm and in an efficient way.
I myself am a mother and although I have not encountered the magic button for my daughters, I can share some tricks that could help:
1.- Between 0-3 years old
In the beginning, children think that their mums and they are one and the same, like as if they were still in mum’s tummy. It is a good time for them to see you brushing your teeth and you let them imitate you with a gum stimulator (like a tooth brush but with no bristles). They will get use to the habit of brushing their teeth later.
When the parents are done brushing, we can first use a gum stimulator and later on a baby tooth brush, massaging the gums and the teeth as they begin to erupt.
2.- Between 3-6 years old
The first time that I read in the American Association of Orthodontics that the recommended age for kids to start brushing their teeth was at 3, my eyes popped out of my face! Well yes, from 3 years old they should begin brushing their teeth alone and the truth is they can do it splendidly. It’s a great age because they want to be grown- ups, they start school and they value being treated as children and not as babies.
You may think great! that’s it three years old and they do it by themselves, my problems have ended, the thing is there are some things to bear in mind:
They are going to brush their teeth their way, which means if you correct them or get nervous with them they may change their minds and prefer keep being babies after all. You may be tempted to brush their teeth for them but that will condemn you to brushing their teeth for them for an eternity.
- Relax because although it seems that they are brushing their teeth awfully, at this age nature has given them teeth which are short and separated (most of the time) which are easy to clean even though what they do is bite and play with the toothbrush
- If you brush at the same time with them (yep, I know I’ve said that before) they will end up brushing their own teeth and that will make it soooo mush easier later on. Have loooooots of patience!
- If what they do is bite on the tooth brush remind them (again and again and again…) that the toothbrush is not to be bitten on. My advice is to buy the cheapest toothbrush there is in the supermarket and change it even every 1 or 2 weeks if necessary.
Remember that from 2 years old onward it is convenient for the children to visit the dentist for the first time to get make sure that everything is ok and get to know the family dentist as part of the caring team. This visits should be repeated once a year.
I hope that that this post had been useful. If you have any doubt whatsoever, contact me and I’ll answer you. If you have any tricks that works well for your child to brush their teeth by themselves I would be thankful if you can share your comment so between us all we can improve the oral health of our little ones.