Family In Bathroom Brushing Teeth

5 Tips For Getting Your Family To Brush

Even as a dentist, it can be hard to get your family to buy into the brushing process. That said, there are some tips and tricks you can use to help make the brushing routine more fun and less of a chore. Here are five ways to get your family to buy into brushing, and how to ensure they are brushing when they say they are.

Getting Your Family To Have Good Oral Health

Here are some tips for getting your family to engage in proper dental hygiene practices. Some of these tips will be more applicable to family members of different ages:

  1. Make It A Family Process – Even if you stay up later than your kids, go ahead and brush your teeth with them while they’re getting ready for bed. Make the process fun, so do it with them and sing or dance for two minutes while you’re brushing with them. Not only will you know they are brushing their teeth, but this helps to make the brushing process a little more enjoyable for your child.
  2. Help Them Get Started – When your child is just starting to brush their teeth on their own, take some time to show them the proper way to clean. Make sure you are hitting all surfaces of your teeth and that you’re brushing for at least two minutes. Some kids are content just to brush their two front teeth or the teeth visible when they smile but make sure they are brushing correctly by showing them how to do it when they are starting to clean by themselves.
  3. Stock Healthy Foods and Beverages – We understand the cupboard isn’t filled with only water and granola, but try to find a balance where you’re giving your kids plenty of healthy snacking options. Try to make water available in place of sugary juices or sodas, and encourage fruits and vegetables over sugar or carbohydrate-dense foods. People don’t realize how big of a role dietary choices play in the health of their teeth, even if they brush regularly — stock up on healthy food options for your family to choose from.
  4. Become a Detective – If you’re past the stage where you’re dancing and brushing your teeth with your children, make sure you are asking them about their brushing habits. Kids like to test the boundaries, so don’t just take their word for it when they say they’ve brushed. Check their toothbrush to see if it’s damp, or ask to smell their breath. Don’t let them get away with bad habits.
  5. The Floss Smell – One final way to help family members get on board with good dental hygiene is to remind them to floss daily and to encourage them to smell the floss after they finish. Yes, it sounds a little weird, but if you get them to do it once, odds are they’ll be more likely to floss on their own. When they smell the floss, it probably won’t smell the greatest. Remind them if that’s what the floss string smells like, then that’s what their mouth smells like. Nobody wants to have bad breath, so a lot of times this little trick helps encourage people to floss on their own and take more pride in dental hygiene.

For more tips and tricks, or to set your family members up with a dental visit, contact Dr. Brooks’ office today.

Kid Brushing Teeth

5 Tooth Brushing Songs To Get Your Kids Brushing

As we’ve stated on the blog in the past, it’s important to instill good brushing habits in your children at an early age. To do that, you need to make the brushing experience entertaining or engaging, and one way you can do that is by connecting to Youtube or a brushing app and playing a short video.

One reason why these videos are helpful is because they are between a minute and a half and two minutes long, the right length of time you and your children should be brushing for each time you pick up your brush. These videos are also useful because your children can see their favorite characters brushing their teeth or singing a song, and this will make the brushing experience more enjoyable.

But as a parent who probably just stared at your reflection when you were brushing as a child, which videos may be the most engaging or worthwhile for your child? Below, we share five of our favorite toothbrushing videos.

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Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me – Sesame Street

This upbeat song features Elmo singing and dancing along as he helps explain why brushing is important.

Stop Zombie Mouth – Plants Vs. Zombies

If your kids have ever played the Plants vs. Zombies mobile game, they’ll enjoy this two-minute video when they brush.

Brush Your Teeth – Super Simple Songs

Straight and to the point, this song features some friendly monsters who help to demonstrate good brushing techniques.

Brushing My Teeth – Barney

The purple dinosaur is back to help teach kids how to brush their teeth in this video.

Kids Just Love To Brush – Sesame Street

A knock off of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” will be enjoyable for both kids and adults who remember the original.

If your child has a favorite cartoon character, odds are they are in a toothbrushing video, so see what you can find on Youtube to help make the brushing experience more interactive and enjoyable! For more tips and tricks, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.

Brushing Technique

The Best Tooth Brushing Techniques

For most people, brushing their teeth is a mindless activity that is performed in the morning and before they go to bed. They don’t pay much attention to their brushing technique, and that can actually leave them exposed to dental problems. There’s a technique behind good brushing mechanics, and we’re going to walk you through them in today’s blog.

Know The Angles

For most surfaces, you can best hit their surface by having your brush at a 45-degree angle in relation to the tooth. With that said, sometimes it’s easier to hit the tops of our back teeth by turning the brush so it’s parallel to your tongue.

All Three Surfaces

When mindlessly brushing, you’re more likely to just hit the outer surface of your teeth, but that’s not going to protect them. You want to hit the front, back and tops of every tooth, and try to hit the back sides of the last teeth in the back of your mouth. Just because you can’t see these surfaces when you smile doesn’t mean that you can ignore them when brushing.

Brush Pattern

Use short strokes to effectively clean your teeth surfaces. These short, quick maneuvers will best help to remove plaque and other food particles from the surface of your teeth. When it comes to a side-to-side or circular brushing technique, it doesn’t really matter which technique you use so long as you spend enough time hitting each tooth surface.

Go The Extra Mile

For best results, don’t just brush your teeth. Brushing can’t hit between teeth surfaces very easily, so a lot of people pair brushing with another activity, like flossing or with mouthwash. Try to get in the habit of flossing at least once a day to remove food particles that brushing can’t reach, and consider adding mouthwash to your routine for extra protection.

If you’re following these brushing basics, we’re confident that you will have a healthy and bright smile for years to come. We also recommend pairing your daily dental habits with regular trips to the dentist’s office so they can do some deeper cleaning and take x-rays to look for things you can’t spot with the naked eye. If you’re interested in talking with a dentist about the best ways to protect your teeth, or you want to set up your next dental visit, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.

5 Ways To Develop Healthy Brushing Habits in Children

Getting kids to buy into brushing their teeth regularly is one of the best things a parent can do for their child’s teeth. Creating an environment where a child wants to brush their teeth, or at a minimum doesn’t hate doing it, is easier said than done. Try different techniques to see what works best for your kids, because getting them to establish a brushing routine will not only protect their teeth for decades, but it may also lower your dental bill.

Everyone has their own theory for how to best get kids to buy into a healthy dental routine, but we’ve talked with a lot of parents and have a good gauge for what seems to work best. Here are our five industry tips for getting your kids to brush their teeth regularly.

Getting Kids To Brush Their Teeth

Try one or more of these techniques if you’re trying to help your child establish a good brushing routine.

  1. Have Fun – Brushing your teeth doesn’t need to be boring. Turn on some music or have a dance party while you brush. This will help your child associate brushing their teeth with other fun activities, and this will help brushing become routine.
  2. Stick to the Plan – If the kids have had a long day and are clearly overtired, it can be easy to just ship them off to bed without going through the normal bedtime routine. The problem with this is that if skipping brushing happens more than once a week, your child is going to have a tough time developing a habit where brushing their teeth before bed becomes the norm. Same goes for in the morning. Get them out of bed and into the bathroom to brush their teeth. Skipping brushing sessions hurts the formation of a regular routine.
  3. Incorporate Their Interests – If your child has a favorite cartoon character, try to work that character into the brushing routine. See if you can find them on a toothbrush, or see if Youtube has two-minute videos featuring that character your child can watch while they brush their teeth. There are also apps that feature some favorite cartoon characters that can help make brushing more relatable to your child.
  4. Make it a Family Affair – When children are young, they want to be like their parents, so make sure you are setting a good example for your children. Better yet, make time to brush your teeth at the same time as your child so they can see that you also value your smile. They are going to want to be like you, so lead by example.
  5. Avoid Reward/Discipline – Finally, we’ve found that reward or discipline systems aren’t always the best route to pursue. We understand that holding back ice cream until your child eats their vegetables may work well at the dinner table, but punishing bad brushing behaviors doesn’t help to foster a healthy attitude about brushing. They are going to view brushing as a means to an end, not as a routine activity that needs to be performed. We want children to want to brush their teeth, not children who brush just to get it over with and avoid punishment. To each their own, but we’ve found that this may not be the best strategy.

For more tips, or for questions about your child’s dental health, reach out to Smiles for Life Dental today.

Kid Brushing Teeth

How To Get Your Child To Brush Their Teeth

Most kids don’t exactly love brushing their teeth, but brushing is a very important aspect of overall dental health, so it’s crucial you instill this habit early in life. In fact, many dentists recommend that you start implementing brushing techniques as soon as your child gets their first teeth.

When your child is cutting their first teeth, you can start with parent-led gentle brushing without toothpaste or even gum brushing. This helps to establish a routine, even if your child is too young to really comprehend what’s going on. As they get a little older, let them hold the brush and try it on their own. Again, establishing a routine and getting your child to buy into brushing their teeth is more important than having great brushing coverage at this point.

If your child doesn’t like the toothpaste, let them brush without any toothpaste or put a very small amount on. Again, getting them to buy into the regular routine is what’s most important.

Positive Reinforcement

Far be it from us to tell you how to parent, but professionally speaking, it seems that parents have better luck getting their child to buy into the brushing routine by practicing positive reinforcement as opposed to a reward/punishment system. By saying “If you don’t brush, you won’t get your toy,” you’re making the activity a chore or a stepping stone instead of something that is just routine.

Other options some parents have found helpful include:

  • Reading stories about the importance of brushing teeth.
  • Singing songs or playing a brushing song or dancing while brushing your teeth.
  • Brushing your teeth while your child is brushing theirs.
  • Letting your child help brush your teeth before they brush their own.
  • Having them “brush the teeth” on their favorite toy before they brush their own.

Again, there’s no perfect playbook for getting your child to regularly brush their teeth, but taking something away or withholding something from them when they don’t comply can lead to dental phobia. This means they’ll continue to be reluctant to brush their teeth, floss, or open up for routine dental care when they’re in our chair. Try different strategies until you find what works best for you and your child.

Smiles for Life Dental

We’re not saying it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it in the end if you can establish a healthy dental hygiene routine with your child. If you’re having issues, please don’t hesitate to call our office or look for other sources of information on the subject. Not only will it lead to a healthy smile for your child, but establishing a good dental health routine can save you money down the road by preventing cavities and other teeth problems. For more information or to schedule your child’s next appointment, reach out to Dr. Brooks at Smiles for Life Dental today.