As soon as you can see teeth in your child’s mouth – start cleaning them, even if it is just with a damp cloth.
From a young age, let your kids know why we need to brush our teeth (to keep them healthy and strong), and how they can care for their teeth through the foods that they eat.
MAKE IT FUN
Kids love games, and learn a lot through role play – so try pretending to brush the teeth of a doll or teddy bear. Educational story books (like Dr Rabbit meets Brushalotamous by Colgate or Peppa Pig Visits the Dentist) can also help to educate kids on good oral hygiene – and make teeth brushing more fun.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
From an early age, demonstrate how you maintain fantastic oral hygiene. Do this by brushing your teeth together twice a day, and by making healthy food choices. Kids emulate what they see their parents doing, and want to be just like Mum and Dad.
GIVE THEM CHOICE
One way to do this is to let them choose their own toothbrush. Kids animations and bright colours tend to work best.
USE AGE APPROPRIATE BRUSHES AND PASTE
Children’s tooth paste is low in fluoride content which is more beneficial for their developing teeth (given the water in Perth is already fluoridated). The flavour also tends to be weaker, and more appealing. Note: for children under the age of 2, no toothpaste is required (certainly none with fluoride in it as they don’t yet know how to spit it out properly when they brush). To get your kids brush their teeth properly, it also helps to provide them with age-appropriate tooth brushes. All brushes for kids should have only soft bristles. To help very young kids grip their toothbrush, toddler-friendly brushes are available.
KEEP THEM MOTIVATED
To help kids brush their teeth for longer you can get fantastic musical tooth brushes that play two minutes of music to keep kids brushing for the desired time. We think these ones by Jack N’Jill are quite cute!
If you’re still battling teeth brushing morning and night, try using a tooth brushing chart and a rewards system. Just remember to reward your kids with anything BUT sugary foods. Aside from sugar not being good for your kids teeth, it sends conflicting messages about how they should be caring for them.
GET THEM INVOLVED
Let your kids get involved with brushing their own teeth. (Note: you’ll always want to monitor while they brush, and go over their teeth yourself – before or after – for effective plaque removal.)
PINK TEETH – ANYONE?!
Plaque disclosing tablets and drops can be used occasionally to uncover spots in the mouth where brushing may not be up to standard. They work by staining the plaque pink – then you can challenge your children to brush it all off. These tablets can be purchased online, or at your local Pharmacy.