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How do I get my toddler to brush their teeth?

It can be difficult getting your child to brush their teeth, but forming good oral hygiene habits while they are young is essential. Here are some tips from our Calgary dentists.

On some days your child may enjoy the brushing experience, but often, it can be a struggle. However, it is incredibly important that your child has their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Children typically don't develop enough dexterity to do a good enough job brushing on their own until the age of 8 so you should assist them up until around this point. 

The best thing to do is create a routine for your child. If they aren't enjoying the brushing experience, here are some tips to try and make it more exciting for them.  

Tricks to get your kids excited about brushing:

  • Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing. 
  • Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush. 
  • Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. Some connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
  • Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favorite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
  • Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favorite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.
  • How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.

If your toddler isn’t impressed with any of these methods, try using a piece of gauze to rub on his teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces just for this purpose. If your dentist recommends using fluoride toothpaste once a day, just a dab is all that is necessary.

Along with at-home dental care, it is important to bring your child twice annually for a professional preventive hygiene cleaning. This allows your dentist to check your child's teeth, ensure their at-home brushing routine is working well, and spot any issues that may be developing. 

Is your child due for a preventive care appointment? Contact Deer Valley Dental Care today to book an appointment. 

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