Toddler tantrums, angsty five-year-olds and testy babies all make for troublesome toothbrushing. It’s not that good oral hygiene isn’t part of a daily routine; it’s more that your little one just isn’t as enthusiastic as you are!
Throughout parenting, you will encounter many hurdles. Getting your tot to brush their teeth well, doesn’t have to be one of them. Embracing a good toothbrushing technique early on, will help shape your child’s future dental health, as well as helping to avoid tooth decay. Here’s our guide to developing a good technique:
When can I start brushing my child’s teeth?
All children are born with teeth waiting to sprout out from their gums. Like all things, there are a few exceptions to the rule. In this case, some babies are born with some of their milk teeth already in place – these are called natal teeth and often fall out soon after a child is born.
Whether your baby is breast or formula-fed, sugary deposits will be left swirling around their gums and teeth. To combat bacteria build-up, we need to give our little ones a helping hand. Using a clean, damp cloth or dental wipe will help to keep your baby’s mouth free of any ‘nasties’.
When your baby’s first milk tooth makes an appearance, you can start brushing their teeth. Yes, even if there’s only one tooth! It’s never too early to start taking care of your little one’s oral hygiene. It’s never too early to start taking care of your little one’s oral hygiene.
Choosing the right tools
Giving your child the best tools for the job will give them more confidence in brushing their teeth and help them to develop good technique. Look for age-appropriate brushes to get you started.
Beyond dental wipes, your little one will eventually need to have their teeth brushed by your and then learn to brush their own teeth. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of options available – even a Chewable Toothbrush to small, soft-bristled round-headed brushes available which are easy to grip and delicate on sensitive gums.
As your child develops and establishes their full set of milk teeth, you will need to take particular care to help them create good techniques and correct brushing skills.
When your toddler journeys on to the child stage, many of the skills they learnt as toddlers are now being put to the test. At this stage, your child will have a personality and the ability to choose which type of brush they prefer manual or electric so, get them involved!
An electric toothbrush may now be your best friend. Flashing lights to maintain their interest and integrated timers which pulse and encourage them to move onto the next section of their mouth,, your child can feel confident as they brush their teeth.
As well as brushing your teeth twice a day, we are all encouraged to floss - children included. But getting those twisty pieces of floss into your little one’s mouth may prove to be difficult (adults even find it difficult to master a good flossing technique!) Using a FlossBrush combines brushing and flossing in one with its longer and standard-sized bristles doing all the work for you!
Now, the technique!
Seeing my own child’s newborn days fade away to becoming the sassy, loveable four year old we see today, she has overcome many challenges. Brushing her teeth is one of them. As soon as she was able to sit unaided in the bath, I gave her a toothbrush. Naturally, she placed it into her mouth, chewed it and got used to the sensation.
Here are a few things we did on our toothbrushing journey:
- Sitting comfortably: getting my little one to sit on my knee, lying back in the crook o my arm, in a cuddle-like position, allowed her to feel safe and secure while brushing her teeth
- Pea-size amount of toothpaste: from three years up, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended. Any more than that and the toothpaste you are using is no longer effective!
- Angles: brushing at a 45-degree angle allows the bristles to do their work. Reaching into the hard to reach places and removing food debris from those tricky spots
- Gentle brushing: brushing each tooth with gentle up and down strokes is enough to get those pearly whites clean! Remember to use vertical strokes for the front teeth!
- Don’t forget the tongue: Bacteria loves to build up on your little one’s tongue, so make sure you gently brush there too!
As your child becomes happier with their teeth being brushed, you can start to let them brush under your supervision.
Using engaging tools such as songs, dances, and stories, can help get your child on board with their toothbrushing routine. The more involved you are with the fun side of toothbrushing, the better! With the addition of timers and flashing lights, brushing their teeth has never been so exciting!
Perseverance is all part of the game. After all, practice makes perfect!
Good oral hygiene goes hand in hand with good brushing technique! Whatever stage you and your little one are at, it’s never too late to adopt future-proofing routines!