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Brushing teeth doesn’t have to be an activity you and your child dread. Here are 5 tips to help your child develop healthy habits which will last a lifetime.

1. Start Your Child Early

Good brushing habits start early. In fact, the American Dental Association suggests that you begin cleaning your baby’s mouth the first few days after birth.

After each meal take a wet washcloth and wipe your baby’s gums. This removes plaque that accumulates on the gums and gets your child accustomed to having a clean, plaque-free mouth.

When your child is accustomed to a clean mouth, they will usually want to keep this clean feeling.

2. When Can Your Kids Brush Their Own Teeth?

Younger children do not have the manual dexterity required to brush teeth effectively. So you need to make sure your children’s teeth are clean until they reach five to six years of age.

Dr. Richard Abrams, of Little Britches Pediatric Dentistry in Longmont, Colorado, says:

Don’t trust kids to brush on their own until they can write cursive.”

3. Make It Fun

Look for fun ways to engage your children. Make it seem as if brushing is a fun thing to do rather than a chore.

For starters, let your child pick out a fun and colorful toothbrush.

Another method is allowing your children to brush YOUR teeth. Laugh a lot and make it a fun activity. Then allow them to brush their own teeth. Finish by brushing your child’s teeth.

Or have your child brush their favorite doll’s teeth before you brush theirs.

Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush as larger amounts tend to create excessive foam making it more difficult for your child to brush.

4. Be a Good Role Model

Your enthusiasm is contagious! If you are enthusiastic about the activity, your children will be enthusiastic.

Children are great emulators. They tend to want to do the things that their parents do. If your children see you brushing your teeth and displaying good dental habits, they will follow.

5. Praise and Rewards

Finally, don’t forget to praise and reward your kids for good brushing!

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Sources and articles for further reading:

Discover How to Get Your Child to Brush

Getting Kids To Brush Teeth

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