Tips for Winning the Brush-Time Battles with Your Kids

Tips for Winning the Brush-Time Battles with Your Kids

As a dentist for kids in Eugene, Dr. Rita Feldmanis understands that parents have a lot of questions regarding their child’s oral health. One of the biggest issues parents must navigate is getting their kids to take their own oral health seriously. No parent wants to engage in a nightly struggle where they must force their kids to brush and floss under constant supervision. Fortunately, the more parents know about their child’s oral health, the better prepared they’ll become to win the battles that matter most.

Let’s take a look at a few answers to some of the questions our dentist for kids in Eugene commonly hears asked by parents.

How can I tell if my child is doing a good job when brushing?

Whether due to a lack of attention to detail or simply because brushing is viewed as an unpleasant chore, many kids simply don’t brush effectively. One way parents can tell how well their kids brush is to look for bleeding gums.

If your child’s gums tend to bleed a little after they brush or floss, that’s a sign of plaque buildup. Healthy gum tissue should appear pink, not swollen, red, or inflamed. When our gums bleed after brushing, regardless of age, that’s usually a sign that we’ve not provided our teeth and gums with enough attention.

Often, kids will neglect areas of their mouths that are on the opposite side of their dominant hand. This means that right-handed kids will usually spend more time brushing the left side of their mouths, and vise-versa for left-handed children.

If you notice bleeding of the gums on the opposite side of your child’s mouth, take some time to encourage them to brush both sides equally. You may even need to provide some visual instruction on the best way to brush both sides.

How can I teach my child to do a better job brushing?

Motivating a child to spend two minutes brushing each time they pick up their brush is a challenge for most parents. Spending two minutes brushing seems like an eternity to a child, so parents need to find a way to keep their kids motivated so they can properly complete the task at hand.

To help the time pass by, consider finding a favorite song that’s just about the right length to play while your child brushes. Not only will the song act like a timer for your child‘s brushing, it will also keep them involved as they give it a listen.

Parents also need to be fairly hands on, especially when teaching their kids how to brush. If your child struggles with brushing, you may need to perform a post-brushing checkup and have your child go over their teeth again.

It’s important that parents don’t simply throw up their hands and decide to just brush their child’s teeth themselves. Your kids need to learn how to brush effectively, something that cannot happen if you continue to brush for them when old enough to perform the habit themselves.

Just make sure to provide plenty of positive reinforcement when teaching your child the best ways to brush.

How should I handle a tantrum from my preschooler when brushing?

Occasionally, even getting a preschooler to put a brush in their mouth can feel like a win. For parents dealing with children dead set on proving their independence, pick your battles.

While our dentist for kids in Eugene would love to have all kids brush twice a day, that’s not always realistic when kids stubbornly refuse to listen. Just do your best to manage the situation and try to get your child to brush at least once. While not ideal, most kids will be alright having their teeth brush well once a day rather than not at all.

If your child constantly melts down when it’s time to brush, try associating the habit with something they enjoy doing. If a favorite show is coming on, tell your child that they need to finish brushing so they can watch in time.

Parents may also want to play a game with their child as they brush or brush along with them. Many kids love to mimic mommy or daddy’s behavior, and may find brushing more tolerable if done in tandem with their parents.

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