When it’s time to consider how to brush toddler teeth, there’s one key component: fun. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to make dental care for kids fun.
For starters, you can include your little tyke in the shopping trip for their new brush. Visions of Spider-Man and Dora the Explorer will dance in their head.
Then, you can build brushing their teeth into the everyday routine – morning and night – and fill it with a sense of accomplishment, rather than angst. We’ve got the low-down for you here, in seven easy steps. So, let’s get right to it!
1. Make Toothbrush Shopping Fun
Somewhere along the line, brushing our teeth became a chore instead of a feel-good, clean moment. Why not take your little one to the supermarket with you one afternoon and make selecting their toothbrush a big to-do.
Ask them to choose from Spider-Man, to the Hulk, to Minnie Mouse, to Cinderella. Now, there will be a natural sense of pride built into that little brush that they selected themselves every time you ask them to, “Go brush your teeth!”
Each of the children’s toothbrushes should be soft-bristled anyway, but just make sure you see that labeled somewhere. These little guys only need a soft touch for now.
And, depending on how serious you want to get, you may want to consider a rotating, battery-operated toothbrush. There’s no denying these brushes offer the deepest, purest clean.
2. Select the Right Toothpaste
The toothpaste won’t be quite as much fun, so you should probably take the reins on this one. What you want to look for here is a toothpaste with fluoride. Or, the packaging might say “fluoridated toothpaste.”
Flouride helps promote strong and healthy enamel. Having this in their toothpaste (and yours) will help prevent future cavities from forming. The good news is, they offer children’s fluoridated toothpaste in a variety of fun flavors.
3. Create a Routine
Every parent knows kids do better living by routines and expectations. Maybe when you mention bedtime your child knows that’s a sign they’re going to enjoy a good book in your arms.
Just like adults, twice a day is the recommended number of brushings. Perhaps, after breakfast, as you’re getting everyone excited about the day, you’ll designate that the tooth brushing time before they go in to help you select their outfit for the day.
4. Set the Stage
At this stage, you’re going to want to prep things for your toddler. Drop a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on their brush. They won’t need any more than this.
Then, line up their nifty little step stool to allow them to get some clearance over the sink. Or, if you want to prop them up on the sink and hold them from behind, that’ll work, too.
The goal is to kind of get your little tyke to sit or stand in one position for the next part of the party. Concentration (or distraction) levels will be tight during this time, so it’s all about setting the stage to optimize the time you have here.
5. Start with The Inside of the Teeth
Then, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and have some fun. Start with the inside of the teeth first, top or bottom. You’ll want to slightly angle the toothbrush down at the gum line, aiming for about a 45-degree angle.
Move the brush back and forth, scrubbing each and every tooth along your journey. Aim for the gumline as you move along, ensuring you get close to all those little nooks and crannies.
6. Move to the Outside of the Teeth
After you’ve covered the inside of the teeth, skimming along the gumline, angling the brush at a 45-degree angle, it’s time to repeat on the outside of the teeth.
It’s up to you; you’ll have to see how it goes. But, you can pause here to let your toddler rinse before moving on. It’s just that time is of the essence here and you don’t want to break their concentration, so see how it goes. You’ll know best.
Then, gently move the brush back and forth along the gumline, covering each of the exterior portions of every tooth. Finally, make sure you hit the top surfaces of each tooth, too. So, it’s inside, outside, topside.
7. Leave the Flossing to You
Not every parent flosses their children’s teeth, but flossing is the most important thing you can do to prevent tartar and, eventually, tooth decay.
But, you can skip the tutorial here. It’s best if you handle the flossing, as your little one could accidentally injure their gums (and cause quite a bit of pain).
Once all this is done, maybe you’ll have a designated happy dance or some other cute little incentive to positively associate the whole process with something joyful.
After all, a perfect smile will be something to celebrate throughout the rest of their lives.
How to Brush Toddler Teeth: Make It Fun!
That’s what it all comes down to, right? We either positively or negatively associate most of our daily interactions with the various memories that live in our minds.
Despite its chore-like appearance, you can learn how to brush toddler teeth in a way that makes toothbrushing fun, or at least a necessary part of life that doesn’t need to lead to a fight.
Here at Doug Lewis Dentistry, it’s a family affair. Bring the whole family to experience a variety of services.
Out treatments include everything from anxiety prevention, to teeth whitening, to – of course – cleanings. We can’t wait to meet you!