To ensure good oral health, young children need to form good oral hygiene habits starting at an early age. However, for many Hendricks County parents, getting your toddler to brush their teeth can be no easy task. To get your child excited about taking care of their teeth, you need to make it fun for them. Therefore, Danville Family Dentistry wants to help you out by giving you some tips on how to make tooth brushing fun for your toddler.
Why Is Dental Care Important for Toddlers?
Some parents may wonder why they need to take care of their toddler’s teeth in the first place. Eventually, their baby teeth will fall out, so what’s the big deal?
Cavities in a child’s baby teeth can have long-term effects on their oral health. Baby teeth provide “space holders” for your child’s future adult teeth. If the space for future teeth and your child’s gums aren’t well cared for, the growth of their adult teeth can be affected. Their permanent teeth may come in crooked or out of alignment. Molar placement is particularly important since it affects the shape of your child’s face and the position of their adult teeth. Improper tooth placement could mean your child may need braces eventually. Therefore, parents should help their children keep their teeth and gums healthy from the start.
How to Make Tooth Brushing Fun
Dr. Jon Erickson and the staff at Danville Family Dentistry have heard many stories from parents in Hendricks County about how hard it can be to brush their toddler’s teeth. Let’s face it, holding a child down and forcing a toothbrush into their mouth can be a scary and traumatic experience for them and a frustrating endeavor for you.
What’s a parent to do? First, you shouldn’t give up on brushing you toddler’s teeth. Second, you need to make the experience more enjoyable for your child. Here are some tips:
Let Your Child Pick Out Their Own Toothbrush and Toothpaste
When your child chooses a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character, like Elmo, Spiderman, or a Disney Princess, on it, it helps make brushing more fun. Also, toothpastes come in a variety of fun flavors and colors. Let your toddler pick a flavor they like. Just make sure to only put a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on their brush since little ones are more likely to swallow the toothpaste while learning to brush.
Let Your Child Practice Brushing on Their Own
Toddlers have an independent streak. Put this to your advantage and let them do it on their own. Tooth brushing will help your child develop their motor skills, confidence, and independence. Just remember, toothpaste all over the sink is part of the learning process.
Make the Process Fun
While your child brushes their teeth, play their favorite song. Or, use a tooth brushing song. Have a 2-minute dance party. Read a 2-minute tooth brushing story, using funny voices. Play a fun video featuring their favorite characters brushing their teeth.
Make Brushing a Family Affair
Children learn by example. Show your child how you brush your teeth. A family that brushes together helps instill healthy oral habits.
Reward Good Brushing Behavior
Every child likes to know they did something well. Hang up a reward chart. Have your child add a sticker every time they brush their teeth. Once a month is filled in, reward your child with a new toy or a fun trip out.
Stick with Your Routine
While you may be tempted to skip a day, such as when you’re on vacation, keep at it. A routine helps make tooth brushing become second nature for your child.
Have Your Child’s Teeth Professionally Cleaned
Bring your toddler to Danville Family Dentistry to have their teeth examined and cleaned twice a year. By starting this practice early, your child will get used to going to the dentist regularly. Contact our Hendricks County office at 317-745-4400 to schedule an appointment.
With just a few creative ideas, you can make tooth brushing fun for your toddler, so they can enjoy a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.