For many parents, it’s a daily battle to get children to brush their teeth. Throw in oral-motor or sensory issues, and things become even more complicated. Despite these challenges, it’s essential to instill good oral hygiene habits in children from a young age. Without strong primary teeth (i.e., baby teeth), kids won’t properly learn how to chew, speak or obtain proper nutrition.
Need help encouraging your children to brush their teeth? Check out our therapists’ tips below:
Set an example: Use role-play or the “Tell-Show-Do” learning method—either on yourself or a stuffed animal—to walk children step-by-step through the process. If extra help is needed, guide your children’s hands until they become comfortable.
Be willing to adapt: If your children have fine-motor-skill issues or are having trouble gripping a handle, try at-home toothbrush adaptations like play-doh or bicycle grips; tennis balls; or Velcro hand strips.
Present choices: Do your children love a certain TV show or movie? Let them pick a toothbrush or toothpaste with their favorite character, animated figure, color or flavor. (NOTE: Pediatric dentists recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes for infants and small children.)
Make it fun: Set goals and celebrate your children’s progress or milestones with a sticker chart, special treat or new family activity. Or, if your children like music, play an upbeat song to encourage them to brush for the recommended two minutes.
If you have specific questions about toothbrush modifications or how to prepare your children for an upcoming dentist visit, contact us at 870-633-1737.