We all know how important it is to brush teeth. But toddlers in general can’t be bothered to brush their teeth or even if they do it may seem like a big task. But this is the unfortunate time when those shiny pearls are at a danger of getting attacked by plaque and cavities.
Toddlers also have greater access to sweets and chocolates, juice and other items which may stick to teeth and cause decay if not cleaned properly. One of the precautions you may take is to limit your child’s intake of juice and sweets, but eventually they must learn to brush their teeth. Here are a few tips on teaching children to brush their teeth.
Introduce your baby to brushing early
Even if you do not start brushing her teeth straightaway, show her what it is to brush the teeth. Take her along with you to the bathroom when you brush your teeth. Tell her that we need to brush everyday so that we do not get boo-boos in our teeth. This can be done as early as possible.
You can also show her pictures or videos of cartoons brushing their teeth.
Use water only
Initially use only water to clean your baby’s teeth. Do not use any kind of toothpaste initially. You can start using paste once child is comfortable with the idea of brushing teeth and that too very little.
Get a finger brush
A regular brush may be too much for your child to handle, so get a finger brush which can fit into your finger and you can help your baby open her mouth and clean her teeth gently for her.
Let the child choose his/ her toothbrush
Allow your child to choose her own toothbrush. Her favourite color, a favourite cartoon character, lights all can help in making it look more appealing. This makes it an exciting event for them and they will be looking forward to using the tooth brush rather than dreding a new step.
Use toddler safe toothpaste
Toddlers are not equipped to spit out tooth paste. So even after you introduce paste, use the ones especially formulated for toddlers and are safe if ingested. There are many brands available. Use a just a smear on the brush and let your child get the feel.
Make it fun
Sing some rhymes and songs while brushing. “Brush brush brush your teeth, early in the morning”.
Give some control
Let your tot handle her brush after a while. Some toddlers would love to brush their teeth all through the day. There is no harm in it, just keep an eye that they do not make their brush excessively dirty and put back in their mouth.
Do not make it a power struggle
Do not worry too much about the technique at this point. Your objective is to get your toddler into habit of brushing everyday rather than brushing perfectly. It will come with time. You may also strike a deal to let you clean the teeth first and then letting her brush herself. That will keep you both happy.