Do you really brush twice a day? Floss once a day? We know. It’s hard to make good habits! Solidifying your OWN oral health routine can be tough. Throwing a kid into the mix? That’s a whole other story. And multiple kids? Well, I speak from experience when I say that it’s a challenge. In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month let’s tackle this challenge together!
Managing Your Kid’s Dental Care
I have 18 month old twin boys at home. And yes, it’s a lot of work. But, being a dentist, I swore that I would be super diligent about their home care for their teeth. [Insert this goal into the folder of all of the ideals I strove for prior to becoming a parent that I am now realizing will never happen.] The reality is, I now have toddlers and getting them to do anything– including brushing their teeth– is a struggle. But, here are some tips for managing your kiddo’s teeth to help make the process a bit easier:
Tips To Get Your Child To Brush
- Start ‘em young! If you have an infant, start by wiping their gums with a washcloth or finger brush to help desensitize them from the sensation of having their teeth brushed.
- Use a soft children’s toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste (fluoride is ok!) as soon as the first tooth comes through the gums.
- Try a 2-on-1 approach. Try having them lay down on one parent and having the other parent brush their teeth. And if you have multiples like me, I find that focusing on one child at a time works best in our house!
- It’s also helpful to let your child hold one or two brushes, keeping their hands occupied, while you brush their teeth.
- Start small. You may only get a few seconds of brushing in at a time. Over time, you’ll slowly start to build up your child’s tolerance.
- Give them choices! Let your child pick their flavor of toothpaste or buy a brush with their favorite characters.
- Ideally you want to brush their teeth twice a day. It won’t be perfect everyday, but if you miss the morning, make sure you do a thorough job that night.
- You can bring your kiddos to the pediatric dentist as early as when their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday.
I have found that reframing my expectations has helped me accept that I won’t do a perfect job every time I try to brush my kids’ teeth. But, I still hold myself accountable to do a good job MOST of the time. Kids thrive on routines. Stick with it to keep their oral health in good shape!