According to the World Health Organisation, more than 530 million children worldwide suffer from decayed deciduous teeth. The main cause is excess sugar intake and inadequate oral hygiene. Importantly, problems with milk teeth are often even worse with permanent teeth. This is why it is so important to develop the habit of good oral hygiene from an early age. And how to encourage your child to brush his teeth - here are some tried and tested ways!
Why is caring for milk teeth so important?
Some parents do not attach importance to caring for their children's milk teeth, thinking that there is no point in doing so because they will fall out anyway. This is a big mistake that can have very serious consequences in the future.
Firstly, the child is not developing the right habits related to oral hygiene. During this period, most toddlers are fond of sweets, which in the case of deciduous teeth, which are more susceptible to decay, further increases the risk of decay.
That's it! Improper or lack of oral hygiene from an early age results in a visit to the dentist when severe pain occurs. Unfortunately, this often ends in the removal of a milk tooth. The cavities left by prematurely extracted milk teeth can also contribute to malocclusion in the future.
In addition, a toddler associates the dentist's office with the with pain, so that a subsequent visit may be met with refusal and resistance by the child. Therefore, the first visit should take place after the appearance of the first tooth. You can find out exactly what an adaptation visit consists of in our material "Your child's first visit to the dentist in the UK", and if you would like to make an appointment for it click here.
Remember that prevention is always better than cure. That is why taking care of your little one's oral hygiene is not worth neglecting. We know that not every child likes a toothbrush and toothpaste, so we have prepared a list of proven ways to encourage your child to brush their teeth. And if you want to learn more about deciduous teeth, we invite you to read our article "How to care for baby teeth and why it's so important".
How to encourage your child to brush his teeth - Habit through play
You are aware of the importance of good oral hygiene, but your little one is not a child who just waits to brush his teeth in the evening. So how do you encourage your child to brush his teeth?
You certainly cannot do it by force. Then the toddler will associate brushing his teeth with compulsion and an unpleasant duty. This, in turn, will cause even more resistance and reluctance.
So what can you do to encourage your child to brush their teeth?
Try some tried-and-tested ways to get your little one eager to reach for the toothbrush every day.
1. brush your teeth together with your child
Show your child that you brush your teeth too. Let him observe you first, and then let him pick up the toothbrush himself and try to brush his teeth. At first, his movements will be imprecise and the brushing itself brief. However, it is important to get him used to both holding the toothbrush in his mouth and to the daily repetitive action itself.
2. If you want to encourage your child to brush his or her teeth, start with education
Education is often overlooked or limited to negative sentences "because your teeth will hurt" or "if you don't brush your teeth they will fall out". These sentences frighten rather than encourage regular hygiene. It is better to talk to your child about what teeth are used for and why they need to be looked after. When doing so, remember to adapt the language to the age of your little one. If you don't know enough, there is a lot of information on the market these days.
3. a song good for everything
Another way to encourage your child to brush his teeth is to create a special list of songs about brushing his teeth, which you can listen to together with your child while brushing. This will make him associate brushing his teeth with a pleasant time spent together.
4. reading or watching fairy tales whose characters eagerly reach for a toothbrush and toothpaste
When reading or watching stories, choose stories of characters who are happy to reach for toothpaste and a toothbrush. Let your child see that the characters also brush their teeth and that it is a natural thing to do. At this age, fairy tale characters are role models.
5. make sure the accessories are colourful - let the child choose the toothbrush and cup themselves
Take a shopping trip to the drugstore and let your little one choose a toothbrush or a colourful cup. Make it fun for him or her. There are now toothbrushes on the market that count down the time it takes to brush their teeth, play a tune or have characters from famous fairy tales painted on them.
You can also buy a paste in your favourite flavour, such as strawberry. Most children's toothpastes do not contain fluoride, which can have harmful effects if swallowed. Therefore, you don't have to worry if your child swallows the paste.
6. incentive boards + awards
Everyone likes to get rewards, children too. Take advantage of this and put oral hygiene on a special motivational board. The reward for brushing their teeth could be, for example, a sticker, a stamp or doing something your little one likes.
7. Application to clean teeth
Children love to play with their phone or tablet. You can use this to encourage your child to brush their teeth. There are many apps available nowadays that show the time of brushing teeth and give children rewards for their morning and evening routine. For example, there could be an app: PAMPIŚ - a dental adventure or Disney Magic Timer.
8. colouring liquids
It's a great idea for toddlers who say they have clean teeth after 10 seconds. If this is the case, it is a good idea to buy plaque staining liquid or tablets. This will make brushing teeth more appealing to the toddler but, above all, more effective.
9. with teeth by name
Another way to encourage your child to brush regularly is to give names to the individual teeth. Then tooth brushing can turn into a game, plus the toddler exercises his memory.
10. limited choice
Before brushing their teeth, many children love to list all the arguments as to why they don't have to do so. Then they start long discussions which sometimes end in a row. This can be avoided by asking the right questions - "with whom are you brushing your teeth today, Mummy or Daddy", "who brushes your teeth first, you or me". The child then feels that he or she has a choice, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that the toddler's teeth are clean.
Not always all methods, how to encourage a child for brushing teeth will be ideal for your little one. So check what works in your home and remember that oral hygiene alone is not enough. Just as important as daily tooth brushing are regular visits to the dentist.
In the course of these, the dentist has the opportunity to notice even the smallest changes in the oral cavity and to carry out hygienization for the child. You can find out exactly what this is in our article "Preventive treatments for the child". As always, if you have questions - write to us. We also invite you to follow us on Facebook.