As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your child knows how to keep their pearly whites shiny and healthy. No one is born knowing how to brush their teeth!

It’s easy to forget that you have to learn how to brush. After all, you’ve been doing it for as long as you can remember. You likely don’t even remember your parents teaching you. 

If you’re not sure how to make sure that your child is brushing right (or if you don’t know how to brush their teeth yourself), your children’s dentist in Richmond wants to help.

Read on for a few tooth brushing tips for parents and children.

1. Visit the Dentist Early (and Regularly)

Did you know that you should bring your child to their first dentist’s appointment by the time their first tooth erupts? That’s right! That first tooth is important and you should start taking care of it right away.

When you visit your Richmond, Georgetown, or Lexington pediatric dentist for the first time, they’ll tell you all about what your role is in your child’s dental health. They may give you advice on how to brush gums, what type of toothpaste to use, and what to look out for as your child grows more teeth.

After this initial visit, you should try to visit the dentist twice per year. As children get more teeth, it gets harder to keep them all healthy. Acclimating your child to the dentist will also help them avoid a fear of the dentist in the future. 

Many parents make the mistake of thinking that milk teeth (or baby teeth) aren’t as important as adult teeth, so keeping them safe is a non-issue. Any good pediatric dentist knows otherwise. 

2. Model Good Brushing Behavior

Learning how to brush teeth starts with you. Children mimic their parents, so everything that you do will impact your child’s behavior. 

Even if you and your child have different toothbrushing times, let your child watch you brush your teeth every night (even if you’re still brushing their teeth for them). When your child sees this, they’ll get used to the idea that they should be brushing every day. 

Go through the entire process. If the child is old enough, have them brush alongside you. This is going to make a huge difference in your child’s oral health in the future. 

3. Brush The Right Way

Brushing teeth the right way isn’t as simple as it looks. It’s possible that you don’t even brush your teeth as thoroughly as you should! While you’re modeling good brushing behavior for your child, make sure that you’re brushing the right way as well.

You should brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes per brushing session. You should try to cover all surfaces of your teeth while you do this. Remember, plaque can hide on the backs of your teeth as well.

Make sure that you floss. Flossing may help prevent gum disease and remove all of the pesky plaque between your teeth.

Don’t rinse your mouth after you brush your teeth. Your toothpaste has fluoride in it which protects your teeth. By rinsing, you get rid of all of that beneficial fluoride! 

4. Make It Fun

Children get bored quickly, and they often resent the idea of brushing their teeth. These things in combination mean that you may have trouble getting your child to brush the right way all the time.

If possible, make it fun. This is easier than ever in 2021. 

There are plenty of phone apps that have fun games for children who are brushing their teeth. The games last for two minutes and instruct the child to brush their teeth the right way. 

You could also play a fun song for two minutes so the child has something to listen to. 

If your child is still quite young, consider a reward system for them. They can get a sticker every week that they brush their teeth the right way. This is effective while they’re learning. 

5. Observe Your Child

So what about when your child is finished learning and ready to brush alone? 

Don’t underestimate sneaky children. It’s common for children to “pretend” to brush their teeth or to brush quickly instead of taking the full two minutes. They might not floss at all! 

You don’t have to stare at your child while they brush, but check in every so often to make sure that they’re doing it right. When you don’t observe them, check their toothbrush to make sure that it’s wet. If it’s not, you know that they didn’t brush!

6. Explain Why They Have to Brush

Children like to know that there are reasons for the things that they have to do. That’s understandable! Instead of telling children that they should brush their teeth “because you say so,” explain the importance of dental health. 

Let them know what cavities are and what causes them. Talk about how toothbrushes get rid of pesky plaque and bacteria after they eat sweet foods. 

Explanations like this will help children feel more comfortable when it’s time to brush their teeth. 

Make an Appointment With a Children’s Dentist in Richmond 

Are you ready to help your child keep their teeth shiny and healthy? With these top tips from our experts in dentistry for children, you’ll be able to teach your child how to brush and floss so their teeth stay healthy for a lifetime. 

Remember, it all starts with a visit to your children’s dentist in Richmond!

Are you looking for a Georgetown, Richmond, or Lexington children’s dentist? At Dentistry for Children, our team is devoted to keeping children’s smiles safe and healthy. Contact us to set up an appointment today!