20% of children between the ages of 5 to 11 years have at least one tooth that has tooth decay, this is because of not properly brushing their teeth or not brushing them at all. This can lead to other oral health issues and affect the development of their adult teeth. [Source]
Although kids baby teeth are small and will come out at some point, they still need tender, love and care because they guide the permanent teeth into place. Thus, taking care of them now and protecting them now will prevent pain and save you money in the future.
When Should Kids Start Brushing Their Teeth?
From the time your child is born some of their teeth have developed in the jaw. Even before their baby teeth surface you can already start taking care of their gums by regularly wiping them gently with a warm damp washcloth. This will help clear away harmful bacteria.
When their baby teeth appear, you can start brushing their teeth with an infant toothbrush and a rice grain size of fluoride toothpaste. From this time, regularly brushing their teeth can help them regard this as a necessary step in their routine until they can brush their teeth.
Around the age of 2 or 3, you can try to start teaching them to do it themselves while monitoring them. [Source]
Why Is It Important For Your Child To Brush Their Baby Teeth?
Just like any other person, if you do not brush your teeth regularly cavities build up and you can experience tooth decay. This too happens to your child’s baby teeth. Which can lead to more complications for them, such as pain, discomfort and can also affect the growth of their permanent teeth.
Not brushing their teeth regularly can become a habit that they continue even in their adulthood, and we all know how it’s not always easy building new habit. So it would be more beneficial in the long run if this habit is built at an early age.
How Do You Get Your Child to Brush Their Teeth?
- Take them toothbrush shopping
Let them pick out the products that excite them the most, the toothbrush and kid’s toothpaste, this way every time they see their dental gear they are excited to use it. Do not underestimate the power of a fun looking toothbrush!
- Make sure there are no underlying issues
Sometimes we may think that the reason kids don’t want to brush their teeth is that they don’t think it is fun. However, there could be underlying dental issues causing pain and/or discomfort. So ask them if they feel pain when they brush their teeth. If they are, speak to your dentist about it.
- Give them some motivation
Rewarding good brushing behaviour can encourage them a lot, a compliment goes a long way. Saying your “teeth/smile looks beautiful” can give your child something to be proud of and a sense of achievement, making them want to do it all the time.
- Make it a routine
Kids are most likely to pick up a good habit when it is part of their routine, by having them brush their teeth every morning and evening at a specific time or after completing certain tasks. In no time they will be doing it on their own.
- Make it a fun family affair
Kids learn the most from their family, so setting them a good example is also important. Make it something you both can smile about!
Build healthy dental habits with your child at home and start visiting your dentist for regular checkups when turn 1. This allows you to spot signs of any problems that may occur.
Remember, prevention is always better and it can save you so much money in the long run.