We’ve all heard people joke about toddlers – referring to two year olds in the ” terrible twos” or a three year old acting like a “threenager” – and if you’re a parent you know there’s good reason for it. Have you ever tried to floss a toddler’s teeth? It is no joke! Toddlers fight you on everything – unless it’s made of sugar, am I right?
But seriously, speaking of sugar – that’s one of the many reasons it’s super important to not only brush, but floss your toddler’s teeth as well. Now, as we’ve already established, cleaning a toddler’s teeth can be a giant pain so here are some tips that will hopefully make the job a little easier.
- Create healthy habits! Brush their teeth as soon as that first little tooth pops through. As soon as your baby has two touching teeth in her mouth start flossing them. The more often they are exposed to the behavior, the more familiar and accepting they will be of it.
- Take them to a Pediatric Dentist ASAP. Start scheduling dentist appointments as soon as your child sprouts teeth. A pediatric dentist can help instill positive oral health behavior, as well as give you tips on how to handle your toddlers oral health care at home.
- Sit on the floor. Try sitting cross-legged on the floor and have your child lay their head in your lap. This is a comfortable position for parent and child both, and it gives you a better view inside their mouth.
- Invest in a water flosser. If your child continues to struggle against dental floss, try using a water flosser. They are effective and much easier than using standard floss (although you might be cleaning bathroom mirrors a little more often).
- Let your child be in control. They need to become familiar with the actions of brushing and flossing. Start by brushing their teeth yourself and then passing the task off to them to finish (do the same with flossing) telling them that you need their help to get the spots that you missed.
- Have fun! Make it into a game where they have to rescue their teeth from the sugar monsters – or play fun songs and dance while you brush. There are tons of online resources with games, information, tips, etc. to help you get your kids interested oral health. Check out Mouth Healthy Kids brought to you by the American Dental Association and HealthyTeethHealthyKids.org, an oral education database designed for kids.
- Download an app. There are plenty of apps to keep your child interested in brushing. One popular app for toddlers is the free Disney Magic Timer app by Oral-B. It’s a brushing timer in which kids can unlock levels, win stickers and choose different characters to brush with each time.
The bottom line is do whatever it takes. Be persistent and find something that works for both you and your child. Your persistence will pay off in the long run. Creating healthy habits now will open the door for a happy and healthy future, and what more could you want for your child than that?