As children grow, we teach them many different life skills that become second nature over time. Whether it’s showing them how to tie their shoes, swing a baseball bat, or color between the lines, children need guidance to help build their abilities. However, one of the first skills to teach children, and one of the most important, is teaching them to brush their teeth.
When a child is still a baby and their first tooth pops out of their gum, an adult can easily keep this new tooth clean. But as the child begins to grow and more teeth begin to appear, the time will come when they need to be taught how to brush their own teeth.
However, in the process of parents teaching their children the technique for brushing their teeth, what’s often lost in the shuffle is the proper time for kids to brush teeth. How long should they brush for? What times during the day should they brush? If children don’t learn proper toothbrush timing, then all the hard work teaching them the proper technique will be wasted.
When you’re teaching kids about the best times to brush their teeth, consider some of these key points:
Teach Kids the Right Amount of Time to Brush Teeth
A young child left to brushing their teeth on their own will usually brush their teeth for about fifteen seconds and then triumphantly exclaim, “I’m done!” Instead, teach your child that the proper amount of time to brush their teeth is two minutes. Any less and they aren’t able to thoroughly clean their teeth and gums.
There are several things you can do to help your child keep track of the time and to keep them from brushing less than two minutes. Consider setting a two-minute timer on a phone, tablet, or smart speaker to help them be patient (for instance, “Alexa, set a tooth timer for two minutes”). For something more low-tech, you can also purchase a two-minute hourglass. They are usually inexpensive and kids enjoy watching the sand slip from the top of the glass to the bottom as they brush. Additionally, the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives (a children’s dental advocacy group) has created a series of two-minute videos made especially for children to keep them entertained when they brush. Start the video when they begin brushing, and when the video is done, they’re done brushing. Brilliant!
Teach Kids the Best Times of Day to Brush Teeth
Not only should children brush their teeth for two minutes, but they should be brushing them twice a day as well. Brushing “2 by 2” will ensure that your child has done a thorough job or removing plaque and buildup in the teeth and gums. To accomplish this, the best time to brush teeth is in the morning and at night.
When considering a good time to brush teeth in the morning, pick a time after breakfast, but before they go to school or daycare. Make morning brushing part of their routine along with getting dressed or doing their hair. No matter what the best time to brush teeth is in the morning for your family, just be consistent.
Finding the best time to brush teeth at night can be a bit more tricky. There are several factors to consider, like what time your family eats dinner and when your child’s bedtime is. Although there are several different options, the best choice for the sake of your child’s teeth is to make sure they brush after their final snack or drink of the day. Likely, this is right before they go to bed. Brushing before bed ensures that teeth are clean and that no sugar is left to rot the teeth during the night. No matter the best time to brush teeth at night for your family, make sure your child goes to bed with clean, freshly brushed teeth.
Teach Kids to Build the Habit of Tooth Brushing Time
Good tooth brushing habits take time to build. Consider using a visual schedule to encourage your children to make time to brush their teeth on their own without being reminded. You can place a chart in their bathroom and allow them to add up to two stickers for each time they brush their teeth during the day. As they add stickers to the chart, consider some appropriate prizes to give your kids an incentive to build good habits. Whatever prizes you choose, try to avoid candy. You don’t want to undo all of that good oral care you’re teaching them!
Teach Kids the Best Time for the Dentist to Clean Their Teeth
As important as making time to brush teeth is, kids and adults alike both need some extra assistance to make sure that our teeth are clean and healthy. This is why semi-annual visits to the dentist are so important.
When you take your child to the dentist, you’re reminding that it’s important for them to take care of their smile. As they sit in the big chair, the dentist will gently clean plaque and buildup that brushing alone has trouble sweeping away. Helping your child learn that they should see the dentist twice a year is one of the greatest things you can do for your child’s overall health and well-being.
One of the reasons that parents are hesitant to take their children to the dentist is that many kids don’t like going to the dentist. This is why visiting a pediatric dental office is so important. The office of a pediatric dentist is designed specifically to make a child feel comfortable. From the bright colors on the walls, games in the lobby, and friendly smiles from the staff, your child will feel right at home when they see their friendly pediatric dentist.
Pediatric Dental Care in Reno, NV
If you live in the Reno area, stop by and see your friends at Toothfairy Pediatric Dental. We’ll help reinforce the good tooth brushing habits you’ve already been teaching your children, and we’ll make sure that they leave our office with a happy, healthy smile.
Visit our offices in Reno, Gardnerville, Sparks, Fernley, and Sun Valley. We accept most forms of dental insurance, including Medicaid. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to book an appointment at any of our five offices, don’t hesitate to contact us today.