Is getting your child to brush their teeth a ‘mission impossible’? There are fun and effective methods parents can implement to make this ‘task’ a joyful one.
Dental problems often start early, so it’s important that parents take their children to a paediatric dentist from an early age. Dr. Imraan Hoosen, a paediatric dentist and Pampers Institute expert says, “I recommend parents begin cleaning their child’s teeth as early as 4 months-old when some babies’ teeth start developing. Not only it this good for their dental care, but they need to learn early on that dental care is important and should form part of their hygiene care. It will also help them to avoid problems such as cavities at a later stage in their lives.”
For young children whose teeth have not developed, clean the gums with a soft, clean and damp washcloth every day to get rid of bacteria. When their teeth emerge, parents should begin brushing their teeth using soft infant toothbrushes, using water with a small amount of toothpaste.
The sooner a paediatric dentist examines their mouths, the better to prevent complications such as gum diseases, teething irritations, baby bottle tooth decay and more. They also need to be familiarised with the environment i.e. the routines, smell and sounds in a dental clinic.
If it’s a battle you think you can’t win, Dr. Hoosen advises:
o Make it a family affair – teach them the right techniques and make it fun i.e. make funny faces while you brush.
o Brushing for rewards – if they brush their teeth directly after supper, they earn points to i.e. watching their favourite TV show.
o Brush and dance – Play their favourite song (2 minutes or more) while they brush their teeth and they can dance while doing this.
o Buy them a 1 minute sand timer to stress that they need to brush their teeth for 2 minutes. After one minute, they can turn the timer around and continue brushing.
o Electric toothbrushes are fun at an age appropriate phase.
o Let them choose their own fun character toothbrushes (something that they relate to) and tasty toothpaste – these come in different flavours.
o Use their favourite cartoon characters to create a tooth fairy stories and emphasise the importance of brushing their teeth.
o Have a Q and A session before they brush their teeth i.e. why is brushing teeth important for kids?
o Some toothpaste manufacturers have games and Apps on the websites – use these to highlight the importance of dental care while they are having fun.
As children get older, it is worthwhile to consider an electric toothbrush because they have been clinically proven to remove more plaque when compared to their manual counterparts. Oral-B’s new TriZone power toothbrush, by way of example, provides triple zone cleaning action with pulsating, sweeping and stationary bristles, as well as an angled Power Tip. The brush head is similar in shape to a manual brush but 20-percent smaller. However, despite its smaller size, it covers an area 43-percent wider than a regular manual brush head.
For more baby care tips and regular live chats with the Pampers Institute experts, join the Pampers community on Facebook or go to www.pampers.co.za and the YouTube channel on https://www.youtube.com/user/PampersZA.
By: Dr. Imraan Hoosen