How to teach children to look after their teeth
Date: 28 Jan 2016
Our teeth are important to us all through life so it’s essential that we take care of them as best as possible. It’s also necessary that we learn to care for them from a young age so to avoid the build-up of bacteria and dental plaque in the mouth – which could cause problems later on in adult life.
Why is it important to look after your teeth?
It’s vital to look after your teeth for a number of reasons, but caring for them from a young age can prevent the below problems occurring throughout childhood and into adulthood.
- Tooth decay
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Yellow or stained teeth
You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as their first milk tooth appears, it’s a proud moment for any parent but it’s also an important one as it’s the start of a good dental care routine. As they get older, start to teach them more about why it’s important to look after their teeth, let them ask as many questions as they like and research it together.
How often should a child brush their teeth?
Like adults, children should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. They should brush them after they’ve had breakfast and before they go to bed. Children younger than three years old should only use a small amount of toothpaste, while children between three and six should use a pea sized amount.
Set a good example
At such a young age children like to copy what mummy and daddy do, so it’s important that you set a good example when it comes to dental care. Brush your own teeth with your children, showing them how to put the toothpaste on and how to brush effectively. If your children are really young then they will need you to brush their teeth for them, but it’s good for them to still see you doing it too. The earlier they get exposed to it, the more they will get used to doing it.
Let them have some fun
Something as small as letting your children choose their own toothbrush can make all the difference when it comes to teaching them how to brush their teeth. You could make it a tradition by taking a trip to town every three months (that’s when you should change your toothbrushes) and each choosing a new toothbrush. There are plenty of character brushes available now and they’ll be more than excited to use it.
Make the dentist a fun trip, not a scary one
The dentist can be a scary place for both children and adults, but taking your children to the dentist regularly when they are little and showing them that it’s not scary will make future trips much easier for you and much less stressful for them. After the dentist it’s a good idea to treat your child to something if they have behaved well and were brave; this will give them an incentive to keep looking after their teeth until the next appointment. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture – a trip to the park, a new book to read or a new film to watch after the dentist trip. They’ll learn to associate the dentist with something positive.
Do you have any tips for teaching your children to look after their teeth? Let us know on our social media pages today!