One of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Each child has different skills and needs parents helping him or her brush.
1. Keeping the child engaged in brushing
While you should brush twice a day, doing it before bed is most important, because while your tot is lying (generally) still, bacteria has a chance to grow undisturbed.
2. Make it a family activity
Jessica Ray, a registered dental assistant in Red Deer, Alta., suggests trying to make it fun. “Turn tooth-brushing time into a happy time. Sing songs. Make up rhymes,” she says. In our house, my husband and I would sing the Raffi classic “Brush Your Teeth” to our daughter, Rosalind. There’s also a popular Elmo video (“Brushy Brush”) on YouTube featuring celeb cameos.
3. Playing Dentist
The Mayo Clinic suggests using short back-and-forth strokes directly at the gumline, so start there. Give your child the chance to “play dentist,” reminding him or her to brush the fronts and backs of the doll’s teeth. Practicing good technique on a teddy bear’s teeth will encourage them to use the same method on their own.
4. Offer a reward
A sticker or letting them help pick out tomorrow’s outfit may be all the encouragement that they need.
5. Let them pick their toothbrush
If you don’t want to spend that much money on a new toothbrush, at least allow them to pick out their favorite color when buying ordinary toothbrushes.
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics
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