Surfside Kids, Brush Your Teeth!

Wild and crazy Surfside Kids Dental patients are awesome!

We know your little ones are active, and want to play in the surf and the sun all the time. Although they may be able to wash their own adorable faces, noses and toeses, many of them still need help developing a healthy dental routine.

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For a lot of parents, getting kids to brush teeth is a nightly battle. Considering how important this small task is to your health, wealth and overall happiness, it is important set them on the right track as soon as possible. The question is “How!?”

The task ahead will require patience, persistence and adaptation to get the conditions right for your little one. Every situation or reason they provide for disliking brushing is going to be unique. Toothpaste flavor, timing and even the temperature of the water can be tweaked slightly to achieve the desired effect. Below are four tips and tricks to a tear-free teeth brushing routine.

Rhythm replaces strength

According to this study from the Universal Journal of Social Psychology, it takes on average 66 days for an action to become a habit. When we provide a routine for our children, we make it easier for them to accept the transitions of daily life. Young children will come to expect and accept the tasks and chores of a healthy routine more easily if they are a part of a predictable pattern. Having a nonverbal cue for each next activity, in this case brushing, can actually help little brains more easily accept when it is time to transition to something new. Make morning and nightly brushing a routine, and they will more quickly fall in line each time.

Add a soundtrack

Having a song that signals or goes along with brushing, can be both engaging and distracting as the situation may demand. This is a fun brushing teeth song, or you can just google brushing teeth songs for a plethora of other familiar songs adapted for this very purpose! Having a song also helps to keep track of how long your child has been brushing. It is recommended that teeth be brushed for a minimum of 2 minutes at a time. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” 3 times through is about 2 minutes.

Play!

Kids always want to play. It’s universal! If you can make it into a game, you will win every time! Just make sure the game isn’t a game of whether or not they are going to let you brush their teeth. Give them a timer to see if they can brush longer. Let them brush your teeth while you brush theirs. Bringing a doll onto the room and make-believe brushing her teeth or find use a brushing teeth sticker chart as an incentive for brushing our teeth. Whatever you do smile, laugh and keep going.

Give them power

Allowing your child to be in charge of their own brushing can be very empowering for them. Take them to pick out a soft bristled brush. Their chance to choose a conventional, electric or possibly musical toothbrush might make all the difference. You could also give them the choice of toothpaste, and an opportunity at doing a first run by themselves. Brushing with them gives them a chance to mimic your small circular movements, and then you can step in at the end to “do a final check.”
The key to developing health dental habits is persistence and flexibility. If your child struggles around teeth brushing time, maybe a few small changes can make the experience more enjoyable. Just like learning a new sport, the skill of brushing teeth will provide life-long benefits! If the wave knocks you off the board, just get back up there!

Stay cool surfers!

As always we are here to provide you with the latest tips, tricks and parenting support. Should you need to schedule your child’s pediatric dental or orthodontic consultation, please feel free to visit our website to learn more about our four Northern California locations.

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