Regular tooth brushing and oral care helps to remove the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Teeth can start to decay from the moment they erupt; so proper care is essential right from a young age. At Elysian Dental, we are the Armadale dentist Perth families trust to look after their children’s oral health. Tooth brushing is one of the necessary life skills every child needs to learn so let’s take a look at how you can encourage proper dental care from a young age that will create a positive foundation for their future oral health.

When to begin brushing your child’s teeth

You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes through, which is usually between six and ten months of age. Add brushing to your normal bathing routine, and clean their teeth with a soft wet cloth, or a small soft toothbrush with water. Baby teeth help children to eat and speak, and guide the permanent adult teeth into position, so it is important to care for them from the very beginning.

Teaching your child to brush their teeth

Once your child reaches the age of two, they can generally start learning how to brush for themselves. Encourage children to take part in the routine and help them develop the skill by letting them have a go first before you follow up to make sure you cover the inside, outside and chewing surfaces of each tooth. At around the age of eight years, children have developed the fine motor skills needed for tooth brushing. However, supervision is still needed until you are confident they can do it thoroughly on their own.

Tips for establishing good oral hygiene in children

Not all children enjoy brushing their teeth, but starting from a young age and a little persistence go a long way in forming strong habits which will follow them into adulthood. A few things you can do to encourage children to brush their teeth include:

Start a good oral hygiene routine early

Even before teeth have broken through, you can use wet cloth on the gums of teething babies to get them used to the idea of something being in their mouth. There are many training toothbrush sets that are bristle-free or have soft rubber bristles to massage the gums on the market. Moving onto an early toothbrush soon after and doing it for them until they can do it themselves can be a great way to encourage this habit before they are old enough to protest. The younger you start the more second nature brushing becomes and the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day.

Educate children on why they need to brush their teeth

For many kids, educating them on the importance of teeth brushing can make a big difference. Try explaining it in terms they can understand and make it age appropriate. Teeth are very important and it’s good to reinforce that teeth need to be brushed to last a long time. It might even be a good idea to ask the dentist to give them a brushing demonstration at their next check-up.

Let them choose their own toothbrush

There are many children’s tooth brushes available and chances are they will find one with their favourite character on it. When it comes to children, if they get to choose something, they are far more likely to use it. Special toothpaste might also help, and you will often find that the sparkly licensed brand toothpastes also have a milder flavour which children might prefer.

Make it fun

Turn on your child’s favourite song and brush away to the music. You can also make the most of technology and use videos or brushing apps or try reading a 2-minute story using funny voices. Get creative and make brushing something they look forward to, that way brushing time is always a good time.

Lead by Example

Children learn from you, and like to imitate others, so set a good example. Brush together twice a day, making it a family routine so they can see you doing the right thing too. This is great for helping your child to learn how to brush properly. You can show them the correct way by starting at the front, then moving to the back, and then on the chewing surface of all teeth. They can then copy the way you do it.

Teaching children great dental care is all about setting a positive example and form strong habits that will set them up to care for their teeth and gums for life. Children should have an oral health check by the time they turn two and then continue to have check-ups with a dentist or other oral health professional every six months.

If you are looking for a conveniently located Armadale dentist to care for your child’s teeth, then contact the friendly team at Elysian Dental today. Make an appointment online or give us a call on (08) 6396 2116.