Most children view brushing and flossing as a chore they want to get done as fast as possible. However, without monitoring by parents, children are not getting large sections of plaque and food particles removed from their teeth.
Many children will only brush the front teeth on the front side they can see in the mirror and skip brushing their molars and the back side of their teeth. With flossing, they follow a similar process and do the first few teeth in the front and skip the rest.
To help you child develop better brushing and flossing habits, you will need to spend some time with them. Many parents find it useful to turn the perceived “chore” into a game instead, as it keeps their child’s interests longer and becomes something “fun” to do.
Tip #1 – Let Your Child Select Their Own Toothbrush
Get your child involved in their dental care by letting pick out their toothbrush. The toothbrush should fit easily into their small hands and be easy to use. The only requirement is to verify the toothbrush has soft bristles.
Tip #2 – Let Your Child Choose a Kid-Friendly Toothpaste
Most kids dislike the minty flavours found in the toothpaste older kids and adults use. Fortunately, there is a wide array of flavours for younger kids, from bubble gum to strawberry and more. Just make sure whatever toothpaste they select contains fluoride.
Tip #3 – Get Dental Flossers for Your Child
Dental flossers are pre-threaded and make flossing much easier for children. They do not have to hold the dental floss in between their fingers while trying to get it in between the teeth.
Tip #4 – Play “Dentist” with Your Child
Get a stuffed toy or doll that has teeth. Parents can take on the role of the dental hygienist and talk to the toy about the important of brushing. It is also beneficial to use a children’s toothbrush (not the one your child uses), and pretend to brush the toy’s teeth in small circular motions and mention brushing the teeth on the side, as well as on the back side of teeth. Let your child get involved, too, and let them brush the toy’s teeth and allow them to pretend to floss the toy’s teeth.
Tip #5 – Use Plaque Disclosing Tablets
These tablets help show areas of plaque on your child’s teeth. Your child’s dentist may have them or can recommend where you can find them. Most plaque disclosing tablets are red and are chewable. However, they should not be swallowed. After chewing on the tablet and “swishing” it around in the mouth for about 30-seconds, the child should spit it out. When they open their mouth, they will see pink to red coloured spots on their teeth showing the plaque, which can then become a game for them to remove all the plaque from their teeth.
For more tips to help you child brush and floss better, or to schedule a regular preventative visit for them or your entire family, please feel free to call Kennedy Square Dental at (905) 789-7339. We are open 7-days a week, with late evening and weekend appointments available.