Parents with toddlers or babies coming up to toddler age will know that keeping your child’s teeth healthy can be a challenge.
Tooth brushing and eating healthy typically are not high on most toddlers’ priority lists.
However, teaching your child the value of good dental health and how to take care of their teeth is something that will have a long-lasting positive impact on them throughout their lives.
In their article Importance of Childhood Oral Hygiene & the Role of Parents, Colgate says that “The foundation for healthy permanent teeth in children and teenagers is laid during the first years of life. Poor diet, poor habits of food intake and inadequate tooth brushing habits during the first 2 years of life have been shown in several studies to be related to tooth decay in children.”
Teaching your child to form good dental health and hygiene practices from an early age is vital to their future oral health and happiness.
Toddlers who learn the importance of taking care of their teeth at an early age will go on to have fewer dental health complications in later life, and ultimately enjoy happier, healthier smiles.
In this two-part series, we are aiming to answer all of your toddler teeth questions, as well as to share some of our top tips and advice from our years of family dentistry experience.
My Toddler Will Not Clean Their Teeth
To make sure you get a thorough clean when brushing your teeth, dentists recommend brushing for at least two minutes twice per day.
As every parent knows, getting your toddler to concentrate on anything for 2 minutes or longer is almost always a struggle.
Making tooth brushing time fun, rather than a chore, is the key to encouraging your toddler to form good habits and to foster a positive attitude towards their dental health, and this is something we will explore more later in today’s article.
Lots of studies have shown the benefits of positive reinforcement over negative, and here at Pier Dental Centre, our years of family dentistry experience have shown us that this is particularly true in teaching good oral health.
Try to encourage your toddler with lots of positive reinforcement every time they make a good dental health decision.
The dental health habits you help them form today, will go on to set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
How To Make Tooth Brushing Fun For Your Toddler
Gamifying toothbrushing time is a great way to turn an otherwise boring and routine experience into something fun that your child can enjoy and embrace.
Over the years, we’ve heard from many parents who have found success in simple sticker charts to reward and encourage regular teeth brushing from their toddlers.
Something as simple as getting a sticker for every successful tooth brushing session can be a great motivator for toddlers, and lots of positive encouragement and reinforcement from parents to go with, it will help to double down on that.
Give your child a timer so they can keep a track of their toothbrushing and work towards their two minute brushing time. As all parents know, a child’s perception of two minutes can vary wildly depending on the activity, so give them a way to know for sure.
Another useful tip is to give your child some control over their toothbrushing. Let them feel like they have choice and freedom by letting them dictate the lesser important aspects. Let them choose their own toothbrush with their favourite character on it, let them decide what to do while they are brushing (watch a favourite TV show, listen to a story etc), and give them control of the timer so they can start, stop and monitor their way to the two minute sticker goal.
Choosing a new pediatric dentist can be a difficult decision. If it is your first time, we recommend reading our article Finding a Pediatric Dentist in North Vancouver.