Understanding how to get kids to brush their teeth as part of good dental hygiene is no small feat. Dental hygiene is not just a good idea for children; it’s crucial for their overall health. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the single most prevalent chronic disease in childhood, and rates of pediatric cavities are on the rise. As a parent, you’re correct to ask not only “how long should kids brush their teeth for” but also “how can I help my child develop lifelong good oral habits?” At The Super Dentists, our team is committed to providing top-notch “super dentistry” services for the whole family at our offices serving the greater San Diego area. Check out answers to common questions about teaching dental hygiene to children, and contact us to schedule a consultation.
How to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth – Frequently Asked Questions
At The Super Dentists, parents frequently ask us how to keep their children’s dental health on track. Below are some of the most common questions we hear, plus some kid-centered answers to questions like how to get kids to brush their teeth and how long should kids brush their teeth for.
What age should I start teaching my kids to brush their teeth?
It is never too early to start teaching your children to brush their teeth. In fact, the National Institute of Health reports that a whopping 42 percent of youth age 2 to 11 years old have dental caries (cavities) in their primary (“baby”) teeth. To take preventative measures, get a jump start on your kids’ learning by introducing the concept of regular brushing as soon as their first tooth emerges.
How do I get kids to brush their teeth?
Children are naturally curious, so understanding how to get kids to brush their teeth means knowing how to get them asking questions. Starting from a young age, you can brush your teeth around your kids and explain to them what you’re doing, and why it’s important.
Education paired with engagement and consistency will get your kids excited to brush their teeth. You can also explain the mechanics of tooth decay in an age-appropriate manner. Try this: food gets stuck in our teeth when we eat, which will grow bacteria if you don’t remove it with proper brushing and flossing – this bacteria leads to cavities, gum disease and bad breath! Then, explain that proper dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) helps our smiles stay healthy, which in turn helps us feel happy and confident.
When Should Kids Brush Their Own Teeth?
Setting a good example is your first line of defense in learning how to get kids to brush their teeth. Brush and floss in front of your child twice daily so that dental hygiene is the norm in your household. When your child is old enough to begin brushing his or her own teeth (around two years old), supervise your child so that he or she brushes and flosses completely (don’t forget along the gumline, gums, all tooth surfaces and tongue!). Make tooth brushing fun for kids. Let them select their own toothbrush, select a two-minute long song for them to brush to, when the song ends, that’s when they’re done brushing.
Include them in your own dental health and bring them along to your dental appointments. The Super Dentists provides comprehensive dental services for parents in addition to pediatric dentistry, for a whole-family care experience.
What does “proper dental hygiene” look like for babies and small children?
As soon as babies cut their first tooth, their teeth need the same daily care we give adult teeth. Use a washcloth or a soft-bristled (infant) toothbrush to gently clean the teeth and gums for two minutes at least twice a day, including before bedtime. For kids under two years of age, use a tiny “smear” of toothpaste, and for kids older than two years of age, use a pea-sized amount. Once a child has two teeth that touch each other, the time is also ripe for beginning twice-daily flossing. Ask your pediatric dentist for additional, customized strategies to maintain your kids’ dental health.
How Long Should Kids Brush Their Teeth?
“How long should kids brush their teeth for” is one of the most common questions we hear at The Super Dentists. Your child should brush his or her teeth for about two minutes twice a day, including before bedtime. If your child will not or cannot brush for the full two minutes, brush his or her teeth yourself to make sure you hit the two-minute mark. Using songs during brush-time or toothbrushes with a timer built in can be helpful reminders while building this routine. Teach your child to brush the surface of the teeth, including the chewing surfaces, front and back of the teeth, as well as the gumline, gums and tongue. Use floss to clean between each tooth and floss gently under the gumline.
When do kids need to see a dentist?
In addition to daily at-home preventative care, take your child to the dentist when his or first tooth comes in, and no later than the child’s first birthday. Twice-yearly dental visits are recommended to prevent cavities and other dental problems.
How to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth – More Information
For more information on how to get kids to brush their teeth or to schedule an appointment, contact the Super Dentists, welcoming patients throughout San Diego County. We also invite you to visit The Super Dentists’ blog, which contains articles and videos for parents and kids alike. Whether you need pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, Parent Dentistry or other services, our friendly, experienced team is here to help. We look forward to providing outstanding child-centered care for which The Super Dentists is known.