Scrub-a-dub-dub: Helping Your Child Learn to Brush His Teeth
Parents have the exciting opportunity to witness all
of their child's "firsts." You get to see your child roll over for
the first time and you get to see him take his first steps. You watch lovingly
as he learns to speak and then you get to enjoy him creating his first
sentence. There's also, of course, a child's first tooth.
As soon as your child's first tooth breaks through
the gums, you'll need to begin brushing his teeth. When he gets a little older,
you'll gradually help your child transition to being able to brush his own
teeth. Many children, however, feel nervous or intimidated with the idea of
brushing their own teeth. If your little one is ready to start learning how to
keep his pearly whites shining brightly, there are several ways you can help him
learn the ropes.
First off, let your child pick out a fun toothbrush.
There's no reason your child should have an ordinary, dull toothbrush. Yes,
they all work the same, but remember that kids like things that are fun. Make a
big deal out of going to the store and letting your child pick out a Thomas the
Tank toothbrush or even a Dora the Explorer brush. You may prefer to purchase a
battery-operated brush for added control and coverage. These usually have music
and timers built in and you can often find coupons for them.
Next, practice brushing your child's teeth on his
favorite doll or stuffed animal. Make a game out of getting the toy's teeth
clean. "Mr. Snuggles doesn't want cavities," you might tell your
child. Show your child how to brush the doll's teeth and then let your child
practice brushing them. Expect a lot of giggles when you do this. Your child
might think it's a little silly, but he'll also think it's really fun.
Finally, practice brushing your child's teeth with
him. Let him look in the mirror as he brushes each and every one of his teeth.
Sing a song while he brushes to help pass the time and to make sure he brushes
long enough. This will not only keep your child distracted while he brushes,
but will give you an estimate of just how long he's been brushing for. When
your child finishes, it's a good idea to do a once-over yourself just to make
sure he didn't miss any difficult or hard-to-reach spaces.
Remember dental checkups begin when your child turns
one year old and teaching how to properly brush includes brushing for a full
two minutes! I’m sure some parents would
be served to remember the two minute rule too!