Teeth brushing is an essential part of dental hygiene, with directions on how it should be done, the tools needed and how often it should be done. This detailed information shows that there is a need to brush the teeth properly for the benefit of teeth brushing towards good dental health to be achieved. A 2019 survey revealed that one in three children don’t brush their teeth enough which could be due to the difficulty a lot of parents experience while brushing their child’s teeth. Studies showed that 40% of children suffer preventable tooth decay which results from improper teeth brush, this teeth decay could also lead to other dental problems like tartar and plaque build-up, bad breath amongst others.
This article intends to take parents through steps that can help make teeth brushing for kids easier and doable.
Start Early: Instilling the habit of proper teeth brushing in children will be easier if the habit is introduced earlier. Before the start of growing teeth, experts advise a damp clean washcloth should use to wipe the gums and tongue to clear the mouth off harmful bacteria. As soon as one or more teeth starts to erupt, the need to introduce teeth brushing is necessary, this will help children understand the concept of teeth brushing early and enjoy the process too. To make this easier at such early age, it’s best to get training teeth to brush that looks like a teether, this will be gentle on their soft gum and their growing teeth.
Have a Routine: routines are like a form of non-verbal communication of telling children how certain things should be done. Ensuring teeth brushing is done within specific times like; early in the morning, after meals, before going to bed, are some of the ways of teaching children about proper teeth brushing as how often brushing is done also matters.
Make it Accessible: once teeth brushing is introduced, the training brush is available, there is a routine, then, there is a need to make the training brush accessible so the child can easily pick it up whenever they feel like it. Also, when it’s time to brush, you can ask the child to go bring it so they can get involved in the brushing preparation process.
Sing a Song: children learn better through play and singing a song about the importance of brushing their teeth while carrying out the action is one of the best ways to pass the message to them.
At this stage, they are ready to use the real toothbrush and toothpaste which should both be age-appropriate. Also, just as routine is important during the introduction, it’s important for it to still continue. Here are some other ways to teach proper teeth brushing and ensure it is adhered to.
Model it: children learn a lot more from what they see us do. Let your child see you brush your teeth and while you do that, convince them to also pick up their toothbrush.
Explain the Need for teeth brushing: as little as children are, they can understand most concepts all that’s needed is to explain in their language by breaking down the words. Help them understand the importance of brushing their teeth and how to go about the process. Songs, pictures, drama, books are some of the health educative tools that can be used to teach these.
Use colourful toothbrushes and cups: using attractive toothbrushes and cups are some of the ways to encourage children to look forward to the teeth brushing time.
Allow them to hold the brush: children like independence, it makes them feel in control and boost their confidence about being able to perform certain activities. Once you are done helping them with brushing, give them the brush so they can try it out on their own.
Teaching people to adopt healthy behaviour is better done at an earlier age as it is a process and it requires time, dedication, consistency and optimism. Adopting proper teeth brushing for children and helping them understand its importance will also go through this process so, every parent should endeavour not to be in a rush and let the benefits be what drive. Remember, it’s better to CATCH THEM YOUNG.