Brushing tips for an 8 going on 18 year old!
Once your child has passed the stage when they need you to brush their teeth for them, you are presented with a new challenge! How can you get your now independent child to brush their teeth effectively?
When your child is able to do joined-up handwriting they should be brushing their teeth independently, now you are no longer so involved in the process, it can be difficult to know if they have brushed properly or in some cases even brushed them at all. We understand that you need to let them spread their wings and embrace their newfound independence so to help we have come up with a few helpful tips:
Family Brushing – Try to brush together as a family in the mornings when you’re all getting ready so it becomes a part of everyone’s daily routine. It may be more difficult in the evenings with different bedtimes, but make brushing part of their own nighttime routine, for example, getting them to brush before they are allowed one final book or game. If you do leave them to do their own brushing make sure you pop back after 2 minutes to ensure they have brushed for the full amount of time.
Contracts – Reward charts often work well with younger children but older children may prefer a contract that you can draw up together to brush twice a day for two minutes. You both should sign it and display in the bathroom or bedroom as a reminder. Then at regular intervals, you can introduce a reward such as a toy, game or day out.
Benefits of brushing – Start to touch on why it’s important to brush, discussing fresh breath, benefits of avoiding dental decay and why a healthy diet is important. It’s quite a big part of the school curriculum now so they may surprise you with what they already know!
Make it Exciting – Children love gadgets at this age, so make brushing easy and fun by investing in an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can help ensure a thorough brush, and they often include two-minute timers to keep users on track. There are loads of different designs on the market now that may include their favourite superhero or character.
Seeing your dentist regularly – Keep them motivated by regular visits to the dentist who will hopefully be able to tell them what a good job they are doing as well as highlighting any areas they are missing along with some positive encouragement.
Oral Health educators – We have a team of enthusiastic Oral Health Educators that can spend plenty of time with you and your child demonstrating how to brush effectively, introduce inter oral cleaning if needed and most importantly make it fun, speak to your dentist if you would like more information on this great FREE service!
Remember the essentials:
- Brush for two minutes, twice a day
- Use a suitable strength fluoride toothpaste for their age group – this should be 1,350-1,500ppm (the same as adults)
- Use a toothbrush that they like (favourite colour/character or electric/manual) and a fluoride toothpaste that they like the taste of
- Replace toothbrushes or electric toothbrush heads every three months
If you would like any more information on our oral health education sessions or a copy of our brushing fact file then speak to one of our team who will be more than happy to help!