Parents should expect to begin to see a full mouth of teeth around the one year mark. At this time, a small toothbrush will work much better to clean hard-to-reach places between the teeth than a wet gauze, and your child should begin to learn how to brush his or her own teeth.
How To Help Your Toddler Begin Brushing
Let Your Toddler Brush With You
Practice makes perfect, and in this situation, your child should brush their teeth with you.
While you gently brush their teeth, let your toddler place their hand on the toothbrush. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and allows them to practice the motions at the same time.
During the first stages of the learning process, be mindful of where you place the brush in their mouth. Toddlers may protest when you try to brush teeth located in the back of the mouth because they are afraid to choke.
Sing a Song With Your Toddler
When your toddler is learning to brush is or her teeth, singing a song can greatly reduce the stress they may experience during the process.
If a song doesn’t work, try counting backwards from ten. Studies show that counting in an animated fashion can help a toddler relax.
The Train Method
Toddlers love trains, and being able to relate brushing their teeth to something they love is a great way to help them through this learning process.
According to dental professionals, brushing teeth in a circular motion, similar to train wheels, is the correct method. Many children choose to brush their teeth in a back and forth scrubbing motion because it’s easier for them to do. If you brush your teeth with your toddler and make the “choo choo” sound while making a similar motion with your toothbrush, it will help them to understand the correct way of brushing their teeth.
Create a Brushing Game
Have your toddler brush his or her teeth as well as a stuffed animal’s teeth.
This method is useful because it teaches your toddler that brushing teeth is very important, and therefore should be performed on a stuffed animal that he or she cares a great deal about as well.
Make sure to have your toddler choose their favorite doll or stuffed animal because the method will be more effective this way.
Choosing a Toothpaste
Let your toddler choose a toothpaste that they like. If the toothpaste isn’t too strong, the toddler will be more willing to brush their teeth on a regular basis.
Adult tooth paste is often too strong for a young palette, so stick to the kids toothpaste and purchase different brands to ensure they have enough variety to choose from.
Do you have any tips to help your toddler begin brushing?
Information credit to Westmount Dental Centre, an Edmonton children’s dentist.
Guest post written by Anita. Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She mostly writes about home and family, finance, and business. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and reading a good book.
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