Fun Habits for Healthy Teeth
Jenna Schulten, DMD, and owner of Dupont Pediatric Dentistry, wants her patients to see brushing as a fun activity.
Out of all of the activities your child enjoys, brushing their teeth probably isn’t at the top of the list. The mere sight of a toothbrush can cause some kids to have tantrums, but neglecting oral care to calm your child can lead to cavities. Fortunately, there are ways you can turn this daily ritual into a happy experience and teach your kids how to properly care for their teeth.
If a child is between 18 months and 3 years old, Jenna says it is fine to let them brush their teeth by themselves, but the parent should brush their teeth again. “Kids don’t have the manual dexterity to do it on their own until they are able to tie their shoes,” she says. If your child becomes fussy about brushing their teeth, Jenna suggests combining bath time with toothbrushing. “When my kids were taking a bath, I would usually let them play with the toothbrush in the bathtub so they could see it [toothbrushing] was fun. Then I could clean them off and when I got them out of the tub, I would wrap their towel around them and quickly brush their teeth,” she says.
Another idea is to let your child mimic your good oral habits. “Some nights when I am brushing, Evelyn, my 2-year-old daughter, will brush with me. She brushes the whole time I am brushing just because mommy has the toothbrush. At the end, I will give her my toothbrush so that she can try to brush my teeth and then I’ll brush her teeth to get the spots she misses,” she says.