For many parents, inculcating the habit of brushing teeth regularly in their kids is a tough fight. However, as experts point out, it is a fight worth having. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children aged 6-19. To further emphasize the importance of brushing teeth regularly, research also states that poor oral hygiene can be the cause of speech delays, dental pain, infections, and even diabetes.
While the talk of chronic diseases, speech delays, infections, and much more can easily scare a parent, the solution to prevent all these is rather simple – ensuring that your kid brushes his teeth regularly. As with any new habit, imbibing this practice in your child’s day-to-day activities comes with its own challenges. Toddlers are infamous for throwing tantrums while kids aged between 7 to 12 years of age are known for having “no” as their favorite word. You have to prepare yourself to battle such teething problems so as to prevent any tooth cavities and ensure oral hygiene.
If you are a new member of the “Tired-Of-Fighting-With-Your-Kids-To-Brush-Their-Teeth” club, here are some ways that can help you encourage them –
●     Start Early – While it may come as a surprise to some, dentists recommend starting dental care even before your child’s first tooth arrives! Wiping your infant’s gums with a soft, damp cloth after each feeding or twice a day is highly recommended. After six months, when teeth begin to come, switch to a wet brush without any toothpaste. You can introduce flossing when your child turns two. There is a great chance that a head start in oral hygiene will pay off in the future.
●     Practice What You Preach – Ever notice your child speaking the way you do, using the phrases that you use, and even sitting the way you sit? A child mirrors whatever you are doing. If your child regularly watches you brush your teeth twice a day and floss, he is more likely to pick up the habit. If they feel that they are the only ones who have to do this activity, there is a chance that they may not engage in it.
●     Get A New Toothbrush – The best thing about being a kid is that even the smallest of things give the biggest of joys. The novelty of a new toothbrush can encourage your child to brush. Involve your child in the selection process of his new brush, take him shopping. This way, your child will look forward to using his new toothbrush!
●     Music And Games Can Make Anything Fun! – Two minutes, twice a day – this thumb rule of brushing can easily be executed with some fun activities, songs, and games. There is no shortage of videos and songs of two minutes that not only entertain but also encourage your toddler to brush. You can also buy your child a toothbrush that blinks or plays music for two minutes.
●     Get The Right Tools – Your toddler’s little hands need age-appropriate tools so that brushing and flossing do not become difficult. Toddler toothbrushes, flossers with smooth edges, and power toothbrushes, which mimic little circles for accurate brushing, are ideal for your kids. While new teeth are growing, gums are highly sensitive. This may make brushing a painful process. To prevent this, ensure that you buy a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Some more ways that can make this regular activity fun include building a story around the benefits of brushing, playing games, introducing small rewarding systems, or brushing your kid’s teeth during the commercial breaks of his favorite shows.
 Regular visits to dentists, too, play a significant role in maintaining optimum oral hygiene. Call Abingdon Box Hill Family Dentistry at 410-569-8500, and book an appointment today!

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