Tips for Family Dental Care: You CAN Get Your Child to Brush


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Learning good oral habits early in life plays a major role in having healthy teeth later.  Many dental problems can be prevented with proper home care – a brushing and flossing routine – and regular dental checkups. Dr. Nishan Halim, dentist in Capitol Hill, DC, shares advice for parents on how to get children to brush.

Did you know healthy teeth are also an important part of children’s overall health? The dangers of untreated cavities are well documented:

  • The presence of cavities in young children is the number 1 chronic disease affecting young children and is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 40% of children have tooth decay by the time they enter kindergarten.
  •  Tooth pain can distract young children from activities of learning – listening and participating in group activities.

Parents who take special care in teaching their children to brush and floss are key to developing lifelong habits of good oral health. Here are some ways to get an early start on a brushing routine:

  1. Let your child choose their toothbrush. Offer a selection of soft bristled and appropriately sized brushes that include favorite characters and colors, or an electric toothbrush. It’s OK to indulge her wishes if it means that she is eager to start the routine.
  2. Avoid adult toothpaste.  Strong toothpaste flavors can really discourage a child’s desire to brush. Indulge her sensitivity to tastes and let her pick a flavor designed for children that tastes good.
  3. Make it fun. Introduce the idea of brushing with games and videos that encourage brushing. Use a timer or a song to keep them brushing for 2 minutes.
  4. Start with small steps. Children learn more easily to brush if you break the process into steps that they can practice. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for help.
  5. Make dental care a family routine. Your kids will want to be part of an oral health routine that involves parents AND children. If you start by having your child brush on a regular schedule early in life, the routine will become a lasting habit.

BONUS:  Children love the 2Min2X website. Child-friendly games and videos encourage brushing the right way.

We’re always eager to answer any questions you might have about any family dental care issues. If you want some help, you don’t have to wait for your next checkup – schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!

Dr. Nishan Halim

Coming next: Tips for Family Dental Care: Children CAN Floss!

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