Among the endless struggles of raising a young one is practicing good oral hygiene. Kids who don't brush their teeth are a plight for many parents. No matter what parents try, forming regular brushing habits can feel as difficult as potty training.
As young children start to lose their baby teeth and their adult teeth come in, brushing is as important as ever. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and resources available to parents to help their children develop good brushing habits early.
Even before parents need to worry about keeping newly-growing adult teeth healthy, baby teeth need just as much care. Baby teeth are at the same risk of tooth decay as adult teeth when they break children's gums. Work to form healthy habits as early as possible. Among many essential habits to develop early, Gerber Medical states that despite being easily preventable, dental caries is the "most prevalent infectious disease" that affects our country's kids. All one needs to do to prevent this infectious disease is to establish and enforce a healthy dental routine.
Outside of the apparent benefit of having a clean and healthy mouth, there are other excellent benefits of establishing a good oral health regimen in young children. Having a steady brushing routine helps instill independence in young ones. This independent spirit leads them down a path of tackling more challenges on their own as they grow older.
There are several activities that make up a healthy oral health routine in children. Establishing these routines may be a challenge, but the rewards are worth the effort.
It's important for children to brush their teeth two times per day. In the morning and before bed are the most recommended times. It can be difficult for children to do an adequate job of brushing on their own, so parents should take care to ensure the proper effort and amount of time are part of the routine. If children are unable to properly clean their teeth, parents can step in to do a proper job.
Colgate recommends beginning a mouthwash routine once the child is over six years old. Using mouthwash boosts and compounds the positive effects of both brushing and flossing.
In addition to at-home dental care routines for children, getting children comfortable with regular dental visits is also crucial. No one is able to remove all plaque and tartar buildup themselves. This is why dentist visits are so important. Dentists also catch issues such as cavities early so they can be fixed before larger, and more expensive, complications occur. According to the American Dental Association, kids should go to the dentist between when their first tooth emerges and by the time they turn one year old.
The struggle is real when it comes to getting children excited about taking care of their teeth and gums on the daily. Parents who often find themselves scratching their heads on what to do to get their kids to brush their teeth regularly should try one of these tactics.
The reward system that many parents use when potty training also works wonders for developing healthy brushing habits. Children who responded well to a reward chart for potty training are likely to have success with a brushing reward chart too.
Showing children that you too practice proper oral hygiene can help them develop a healthy habit themselves. Children can also see how to properly reach all areas of their mouth by watching a parent demonstrate it. The "monkey see monkey do" approach works wonders to get kids more engaged at tooth brushing time.
While brushing alongside your kids, making a game out of brushing turns a daily chore into a fun activity. See who can do a better job brushing the front, sides, and back of their teeth.
A more visually appealing toothbrush makes kids more excited about when it's time to brush their teeth. Toothbrushes with popular characters are readily available. Some toothbrushes light up for a specific amount of time to help kids determine how long to brush those pearly whites.
Thanks to the digital age, parents have a deep pool of extra help available. There are plenty of helpful apps designed to make setting up a healthy oral care routine with their children easy. Some toothbrushes hook up with special apps to get kids engaged in their brushing in new ways.
The Disney Magic Timer works with special toothbrushes that play videos associated with the characters that work with the app suite. Kids will love earning virtual stickers as they're encouraged to brush longer.
Another great app for children with trouble developing healthy brushing habits is called Toothsavers. This app turns daily brushing into an adventure. By brushing two times per day, children will help save an in-app kingdom and earn special rewards along the way. If one app isn't a great fit, don't hesitate to explore others.
Parents still having trouble deciding which tooth brushing aids are best for their children can check out this curated list of options for more inspiration:
AutoBrush Kids is a new, revolutionary toothbrush design that it making effective tooth brushing easier than ever for kids. The U-shaped brush head forms to a child's teeth and brushes almost all of them at once. This makes brushing effectively a breeze and is perfect for kids who don't brush their teeth. The device is sold for age groups all the way up to 11+ and is available in several different animal shapes.
Kids will love to brush with the Colgate Magik Smart Toothbrush for its vibrant and engaging design. An included app allows kids to play a game while they brush their teeth, building healthy oral care habits, and earning fun rewards at the same time. Purchasing a Colgate Magik toothbrush set also helps provide toothbrushing supplies to children in need.
Quip was founded in 2012 and has been dedicated to oral health ever since. The quip toothbrush is available for both kids and adults. It features a dynamic case that doubles as a mirror mount and is travel-ready. Appropriate for ages three and up, the Kids Custom Bundle is a good place to start. It features an electric toothbrush and cover, watermelon-flavored toothpaste, and floss. Or, go with the Smart Kids Electric Toothbrush for a timed tracker.