While the percentage of kids who have had a cavity has gone down in recent years, it’s still high at 43% overall. Getting a cavity taken care of for a child is a hassle all around; it can be draining emotionally and also be very expensive.
The best thing you can do to avoid having to deal with cavities in your kids is to establish a good brushing routine twice a day. This way you know their teeth are getting the cleaning they need and you can worry less. But getting this routine in place and making sure you’re brushing correctly can be difficult.
Don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the best tips for brushing toddlers’ teeth to help you get your family on the right track for dental health.
1. Make it Fun by Taking Turns
Having your teeth brushed by someone else isn’t the most fun process. It’s often very uncomfortable both because you can’t see what’s going on and because of the physical nature of the task. Now imagine how it feels for your toddler.
An easy way to decrease the resistance of brushing teeth is to take turns.
Give your toddler a chance to brush their own teeth and then take your turn to really make sure the job gets done correctly. This can be done with or without toothpaste or at different times of the day. Try out a few options to see what works best. They may also enjoy brushing a doll or stuffed animal’s teeth as well.
2. Cover All Areas
The most important of all the tips for brushing kids’ teeth is to make sure you cover every area of the mouth. It’s easy to call it good enough once you meet some resistance but that leaves some teeth more vulnerable to cavities.
Dentists and dental hygienists make sure to brush the fronts and backs of each teeth and have a heavy focus on the areas touching each other. This ensures no area has too much debris left that can cause problems. The best way to make sure that you get everywhere is to make it systematic; follow a pattern every time so you don’t accidentally miss an area.
3. Lay Them Down
Making sure you get every area of the mouth when brushing teeth seems like a simple task, especially since that’s the whole reason you’re doing it. But it can be much easier said than done in a lot of cases.
Toddlers tend to fight back and move their heads around constantly as you’re trying to brush making it impossible to get the good cleaning you’re looking for. Laying them down is an old trick that comes in handy for many families. The toddler lays down head facing you, then you have better access to all of the areas of the teeth.
This position leaves less room for wiggling but if you’re still struggling you can cradle the head between your legs. This acts as a brace keeping them in the position you want them in.
4. Use the Right Tools
A good brushing session is only as good as the brush you use. When you have a worn-out brush with frayed bristles, all the work you put in is much less effective and you’ll have to work even harder to get the results you want.
There’s a wide variety of toothbrush options available to you and most will do the job great. For toddlers, you want to make sure you use a brush with soft bristles to protect their gums and make the experience less harsh for them overall.
The most important thing to remember is to change out the brush every few months to make sure it’s in good working order and you can get the best clean possible.
5. Don’t Forget the Tongue
Obviously, the teeth are the most important part to focus on when you’re brushing your toddlers’ teeth. But it’s also key to brush the tongue as well.
The tongue is a great place for bacteria to linger and then eventually transfer to the teeth or gums. It also impacts how your breath smells as well. So taking a few extra seconds to brush off the tongue can make a big difference in the overall clean that you get.
6. Have Regular Dental Check-Ups
Even if you have great brushing technique and never miss a day, your teeth still may have issues. This is why it’s important to have regular check-ups with the dentist and get a deep cleaning from the dental hygienist.
At your check-ups, the dentist will be able to see visible signs of decay and cavities. They’ll also be able to address any issues you’ve been having and give you advice to get the best clean possible. It gives your toddler the chance to hear the importance of teeth brushing from another adult, which can be helpful for their cooperation.
7. Be Consistent
Of all the tips we could give you to help make brushing your toddler’s teeth effective and easy, the key to it all is being consistent.
The simple truth is that not every day will go perfectly right with brushing. Chances are high that you’ll miss an area or not do as thorough of a job every time. But when you brush every day, two times a day all of the areas are more likely to be covered and get the cleaning they need.
Being consistent and having a set routine also helps your toddler understand what’s happening and what to expect. They’ll be less fighting as it’s just a part of your day-to-day actives.
Best Tips for Brushing Toddlers’ Teeth
Establishing a good oral hygiene routine for your toddlers isn’t always easy. They often make the whole process much more difficult than necessary since they don’t understand the benefits.
But following our tips for brushing toddlers’ teeth will help you make brushing a habit and a much easier part of your hygiene routine.
If you’re interested in getting more hands-on advice and getting everyone’s teeth checked out, contact us today to schedule an appointment.