Brushing their teeth may not seem like any kids idea of fun, but it is certainly vital. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently reported that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children in the US. Although this may seem like a concern for your child’s dentist, parents commonly work more closely with their child’s pediatrician before their kids ever see a dentist.
Kids with tooth decay are far more likely to experience cavities as adults. That’s why it is extra important for parents to reinforce good habits and emphasize the importance of regular brushing for kids at a young age. Many parents wonder, “When should kids begin brushing their teeth?” Typically kids can start brushing with assistance from a parent around age 2 or 3, however, they may not be ready to brush solo until about age 6. A general rule of thumb says kids are ready to brush without assistance once they are able to tie their own shoes.
The healthcare providers at Children’s Wellness Center have put together the following tips that should be of assistance once your child is ready to begin brushing:
- Find a toothbrush with soft bristles designed specifically for an infant’s or child’s teeth.
- To simplify things, break the brushing process into small steps that your child can understand and practice.
- You can also place a hand over your child’s hand to guide the toothbrush as your child brushes to display proper form.
- Let kids pick a kind of toothpaste they like, as long as it contains fluoride.
- The parent should always place the toothpaste on the toothbrush for the child to ensure kids use the appropriate amount: a rice kernel amount for kids under 3, a pea-sized amount for kids over 3, and a normal amount for kids who are able to properly swish and spit (usually around age 5 or 6)
- Start your brushing routine before it’s too close to bedtime to avoid potential crankiness.
- An incentive like a sticker can help motivate younger kids to get excited for brushing.
- In order to reach the recommended 2 minutes for brushing, use a short song or timer as a game.
Tooth decay for kids is no laughing matter, but thankfully it is preventable. The earlier you start practicing good oral hygiene with your children, the better off they will be in the long run. If you have any questions about tooth brushing or oral health care for young children, please reach out to the healthcare providers at Children’s Wellness Center. You can contact Children’s Wellness Center today at (404) 303-1314. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more tips and updates.