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Five top tips for getting children to brush their teeth properly

Most parents will have experienced a reluctant tooth-brusher at some stage of their child’s early years. However, with 170 children and teenagers undergoing tooth extraction under general anaesthetic every day in England, making sure that children are brushing their teeth effectively is vital for instilling good oral health habits that can last a lifetime.

May 14th – June 14th 2018 is National Smile Month, which aims to promote good oral health by highlighting the importance of brushing teeth twice a day, visiting the dentist as often as is recommended and cutting down on sugary foods and drinks.

To help the parents of all of those reluctant little brushers out there, we’ve put together some tips to help the whole family enjoy better oral health.

  • Model good brushing to your child

Young children often love to copy what their parents are doing, which is great when it comes to brushing teeth. By brushing your teeth when they are watching, and looking like you’re having fun whilst doing it, your child can pick up on the positivity and want to join in with their own toothbrush sooner, rather than later. Brushing at the same time as they do, in the same routine, twice a day, will also help them to keep going for long enough as they copy your actions. You should supervise your child brushing their teeth until they are aged seven or so; so why not join them each time too?

  • Use an age appropriate amount of toothpaste

When your child has reached an age when they are ready to start brushing their own teeth, it’s important that their early experiences of this are positive. Children under the age of three should use a child’s soft-bristled brush and just a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. For children over the age of three years, a pea-sized amount is recommended.

  • Brush along to a song

Brushing teeth for around two minutes can seem like a long time – especially to a young child. To encourage them to keep going for long enough, a good tip is to find a kid’s tune or pop song that they love which lasts around two minutes, and teach them to keep going for as long as it plays.

  • Use a specially made online video to teach them how to brush properly

One thing that can work for some reluctant brushers is to watch a video that has been specially made to encourage children to not only brush their teeth, but also to make sure they do it properly.

  • Use a reward system for good teeth brushing habits

For children who find it difficult to keep up with their brushing, a reward system, for example a sticker chart, can be a fun and interactive way to encourage your child to continue brushing their teeth. Then at the end of the week or month, your child can be treated to a reward.

These tips were brought to you by the Dental Law Partnership, experts in dental negligence.

Sometimes, despite good brushing habits, there can be issues with a child’s teeth that are not always spotted or diagnosed correctly by their dentist. This could result in pain, stress and extensive future treatment for the child.

If you feel that you, or your child, have been let down by your dentist and have suffered as a result, you can contact us to discuss your options.