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3 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Clean Their Teeth
It can be hard to make children see the long-term benefits of looking after their teeth. However, learning good dental habits early can give them the best chance of a happy and healthy future without pain.
Here are some tips for encouraging your child to look after their teeth.
Start as You Mean to Go On
It is never too early to get children into the habit of cleaning their teeth. When they are still babies, rub their gums after feeding, and once they get their first milk tooth, start brushing gently.
When they are toddlers, let them hold a second toothbrush while you clean their teeth so they are familiar with the feel and feel part of the activity.
As soon as the first tooth arrives, you need to use fluoride toothpaste as it is the fluoride that helps prevent decay. Introducing the taste of fluoride early on prevents taste issues at a later stage.
There is no need to buy a children’s toothpaste, start with a low-fluoride toothpaste and just use a smear. Brush their teeth regularly, twice a day, so it becomes a natural part of their daily routine when they are old enough to clean their own teeth – this depends on the child, but generally is around seven or eight years of age.
Make It Fun
Don’t make teeth cleaning a chore.
Instead, focus on the fun side – make it a family activity, buy a fun or themed toothbrush, use an egg timer to make sure you are all cleaning properly or play some favourite tunes while brushing.
Children tend to imitate adults. By regularly and carefully brushing and flossing your own teeth for at least 2 minutes, you are setting a good example in oral hygiene.
Motivate and Reward
Encourage children to understand why they should clean their teeth – share educational books or apps with them and build a good relationship with your local friendly, dental practice.
When they get started cleaning their own teeth, keep a chart for them to record their activity and set rewards for milestones (making sure you avoid sugary rewards!).
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