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Protect their tiny teeth

 
three kids in a classroom setting

Protect their tiny teeth

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) recommends children's teeth are brushed for two minutes twice a day – once in the morning and at night. So what's the best way to brush and how do you get toddlers to take time out for two minutes.

Techniques to brush up on

Use an age-appropriate toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles, and try these techniques:

  • Brush in small, gentle circles to clean front surface, and tilt the toothbrush to reach inner surfaces
  • Avoid side-to-side scrubbing – it can damage teeth and gums
  • Brush the biting surfaces of the teeth with a gentle back and forth motion
  • Make sure to gently brush around the gum line
  • If they're old enough to brush their own teeth, encourage brushing in a set order to make sure every surface is cleaned as back teeth and inner surfaces are often missed.
  • Gently brushing their tongue also helps to remove decay-causing bacteria.

Replace toothbrushes when they start to look frayed (about every three months). Frayed bristles aren't effective at removing plaque and can scratch gums.

Entertaining toddlers

As most parents and carers know, getting children to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes is a challenge. Try to make brushing fun with these tips:

  • Add novelty by using a battery-powered, character toothbrush
  • Sing a nursery rhyme or play a favourite song while brushing
  • Set up a two-minute timer
  • Use rewards like a sticker chart and lots of praise and encouragement
  • Get them to practise brushing their own teeth – give them a toothbrush to use while you use another and take turns to brush their teeth

The ADA's website has more good advice on how to protect children's teeth, including flossing and eating for healthy teeth.

CUA Health now offers more benefits for families, like "no gap" preventative dental for your kids until the age of 23, or 25 if full-time students (up to the value of $250 per visit, for two visits per year). You can review our comprehensive Extras cover here.

Feb 26, 2019 | Found in: health,
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