Many parents face the daily challenge of trying to get their children to brush their teeth. Unfortunately, the parents don’t always win. It is extremely important for children to brush their teeth twice daily. Dental decay is the most common disease among children, which can lead to more serious dental problems if not treated. Our Specialist Pediatric Dentist at our BurJuman branch, Dr. Namrata M. says “Start small and keep at it, like every other habit, eventually they all brush.” Establishing a brushing routine with the eruption of the first tooth at about 6 months is the key to good oral hygiene for your child. Dr. Namrata shared some tips on the best way to encourage children to brush their teeth.
- Use just a smear: Most young children don’t like toothpastes. For infants use a soft cloth or xylitol wipes. Graduate to using a toothbrush and apply paste just about the amount of the size of a rice grain for children 2 years and younger or moisten your brush with mouthwash. Experiment with different brands and flavours.
- Make it exciting: Let them think of it as a game by playing your child’s favourite song, using an hourglass sand timer, teaching to time, using sounds of TEEEE and AHHHHH, roaring like an animal to open mouth. Avoid subtle threatening that they will be sent to the dentist as a punishment. Read books and show videos of other children of similar ages brushing happily, or download interesting tooth brushing applications.
- Be a role model: Just like we often see boys imitating their father’s clothes or girls trying on make up like their mother, if parents seen to be brushing two times a day, the child will form a routine soon. Children are highly influenced by their parent’s behaviour, so make exaggerated actions and observe your teeth in the mirror giving compliments like “brushing makes my teeth clean and bright” or “brushing gives me a beautiful smile”. Praise them for their slightest efforts and cooperation.
- Help in the last leg: Toddlers are learning independence and are stubborn to want to brush on their own although they aren’t able to do a thorough job, but parents must finish up at the end. Try to make this part easy by defining the time (using a song or counting). You may take turns as your child may finish up for their favourite toy. If your child resists, don’t get into a power struggle. Just try another method the next day.
- Last resort: If you tried everything and your child still won’t cooperate or, for a baby less than 2 years or if you see early signs of decay, mild restraint while brushing is the last resort. For this you may want to take help of another adult and brush using the knee to knee position which offers the best access and visibility to the mother. You can seek the advice of a specialist paediatric dentist to learn more.
If you would like to book an appointment with our Dr. Namrata, our Pediatric Specialist, please call our BurJuman branch today on (04) 355 5357.