How to positively introduce and encourage your little one to brush their teeth
It can be a daily task.
When your toddler reaches the age of two or three, it is recommended that parents introduce daily brushing of their teeth to ensure oral hygiene.
As well as this, it's best to start early in order to implement a routine that will need to be carried with them for the rest of their lives.
However, it's easier said than done, as introducing the daily habit, as well as the texture of toothbrush bristles and taste of toothpaste, is something many young kids have trouble accepting, making the process a difficult one, and many children, especially toddlers, will find the necessary experience upsetting.
There are a number of ways to make brushing teeth an enjoyable one to limit battles in the morning or at night before bedtime.
According to Oraljel Kids, starting the process as early as possible will help, as establishing a routine and sticking to it will reinforce the habit.
They recommended outlining to your child why it's important, boosting their confidence every time they brush, and complimenting how much of a difference it's making.
For example, saying things like, 'This will give you a beautiful smile' or 'Wow, you have no cavaties, well done!' will instill in them a sense of pride in doing it.
Children are like sponges, and they absorb and mimic mostly everything their parents or guardians say or do. By brushing your own teeth while your child is brushing, they will not only learn the technique but also want to copy it.
Ensure you are demonstrating how to brush in circles, using references they'll understand, like 'brush your teeth like the wheels of a bus going round and round,' and then from 'left-to-right and right-to-left the way a soldier marches.'
Make sure to show them how you brush all your teeth, top and bottom, front and back.
Giving them control
Allowing your little one to choose their toothbrush and the flavour of their toothpaste will also make a huge impact when it comes to introducing the habit.
Is there a toothbrush that has their favourite cartoon character, superhero, or princess on it? Show them and let them feel in charge of this new challenge.
Do they like the colour of the packaging for the toothpaste? Take advantage of this and buy it; they'll more likely be excited to reach for it if they feel like it's something they picked.
Once the technique has been learned and the toothbrush and toothpaste chosen, try allowing them to go it alone. Be on standby to supervise, set a timer, and consistently tell them how proud of them you are during the process so they get used to brushing for the recommended two minutes, twice a day.
Continuous praise and rewards will keep them from fearing the experience or rebelling against it. And make sure to accept the mess; getting irritated by this may only put a damper on teeth brushing and set you back a couple of steps in the learning process.
Make it fun
Introducing songs about brushing their teeth, playing music, dancing while brushing—these are all ways to keep them coming back for more.
There are also a number of educational videos on YouTube that are geared towards learning this new skill and will convince your little one that this is something they want to do.
And most importantly, enjoy this milestone in your child's life and congratulate yourself for being a caring parent who wants the best for them.