Good oral hygiene starts with your child’s first teeth. While you probably helped them brush their teeth for the first few months, it’s important that you help them learn to take over this daily habit. It may seem like second nature for you when you brush your teeth, there are some important things to make sure that you teach your child about proper brushing. We’ll look at five tips you can use to help you teach your child proper brushing technique.

At San Angel Dental in Buena Park, we want to be the local dentist that serves all of your family’s teeth cleaning needs. We have the experience to provide a warm and welcoming environment for children so that their trip to the dentist can be a fun and rewarding one. Call today to schedule their annual teeth cleaning!

1. Play Dentist

One of the easiest ways to help your child learn how to properly brush their teeth is to show them through play. While your child may think they are doing everything the right way, if they haven’t seen it done in front of them, then they may not realize what they are doing wrong.

The easiest way to show them what proper brushing looks like is to grab one of their favorite toys, preferably one with hard plastic teeth. Grab a clean toothbrush, sit down with your child and their toy, and tell them that you’re going to pretend that their toy is going to the dentist for their first teeth cleaning appointment. Lay the doll back on a pillow and proceed to “examine” their teeth the way the dental hygienist will. You can talk about proper tooth brushing while demonstrating what those techniques look like.

While this may seem silly to you as an adult, it’s important to remember that children do most of their learning through play. The time you take to play dentist with them will help to solidify what they should be doing when they are brushing their own teeth, and will hopefully help them build good lifelong dental habits.

2. Use Plaque Disclosing Tablets

Plaque disclosing tablets are chewable tablets that are designed to make dental plaque visible. They are sold over the counter at a wide variety of stores, and they contain a dye that stains the plaque a bright color — usually red or blue. Your child should brush their teeth first and then chew up one tablet followed by rinsing. The purpose of the plaque disclosing tablets is to help your little one to see how well they are or are not brushing. Used regularly, these tablets should help your child see what they need to do to improve their brushing technique so that they have a truly clean mouth.

3. Practice Brushing Long Enough

Patience may be a virtue, but it is something that most kids seem to lack. This is understandable, because even as adults, we find it hard to wait for things as well. When it comes to brushing teeth, however, it’s important that you teach your child to brush longer than the 10 seconds that they think is sufficient.

Brushing teeth harder and faster is not the way to properly clean them, and in fact, can cause serious damage to both teeth and gums. Teach your child that it is important to be kind to their teeth, and that they need to brush for a full two minutes each time.

One clever way to help them practice brushing long enough is to purchase a toothbrush that plays a song for exactly two minutes. When the song ends, your child will know that it’s time to spit and rinse. For a cheaper option, you could set a timer for two minutes, set it on the bathroom counter while they brush their teeth, and have some type of reward waiting for them. Rewards can be as simple as a sticker or star on a tooth brushing chart.

4. Make Brushing Fun

As we already mentioned, children learn a lot through play. With that in mind, it could be very helpful to make teeth brushing a fun experience or game for your child. For example, you could make a cape for them to wear and tell them that they are going to fight the plaque monsters! Depending on the superhero name the two of you come up with, you could even make a letter or symbol that you tape to the back of the cape.

Another suggestion to make brushing more fun is to purchase an electric toothbrush for your child. Not only will an electric toothbrush make this daily habit more fun, it will probably help them to do a better job of brushing overall.

5. Set a Good Example

Last, but certainly not least, make sure that you are setting a good example through your own tooth brushing habits. While your child hopefully listens to you when you teach them about different things, they will definitely pay close attention to what you do or do not do. The old adage that actions speak louder than words applies in this type of situation. If you tell your child that it is important to take good care of their teeth, but they never see you taking time to brush or floss, then they will slowly get the message that brushing their teeth isn’t really all that important. Make it a priority to do what you say so that your words will have a bigger impact.

At San Angel Dental in Buena Park, we want to partner with you to help your child learn from an early age the importance of taking care of their teeth. From regular brushing and flossing to dental checkups and cleaning, the proper care of your teeth will help them to be strong and healthy for a lifetime. If you are looking for a good dentist for your kids, then please call our office today to learn more about our dental services, and book an appointment for yourself or your child’s teeth cleaning. We look forward to seeing you!