At our Raleigh preschool, we understand that children with good dental health habits grow into adults with strong, healthy teeth! That’s why, in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to share some tips to help you get your toddler or preschooler excited about brushing, flossing, and taking good care of their teeth.
Let Your Child Make Choices
It’s probably no secret that when your child has a say in the matter, they are more likely to be agreeable. For example, if you let your child pick out her own outfit to wear, he or she is more likely to get dressed without a fight. The same applies to brushing their teeth!
Let your child pick out his or her own toothbrush, kid-friendly toothpaste, and even toothbrush holder. This way, brushing teeth becomes more fun and your child feels involved in the process. Just make sure to pick soft toothbrushes and toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval so you know it’s good quality.
Practice Proper Brushing Techniques with Your Preschooler
At our child care center in Raleigh, we know it’s sometimes easier to do things for the children, like tying shoes, putting coats on, or even brushing teeth. However, we also know it’s important to let the children learn how to do things for themselves.
Instead of brushing your child’s teeth the entire time, teach them proper brushing technique:
- Squeeze a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto their toothbrush.
- Hold the brush with the bristles at an angle toward the gums (about 45 degrees) and brush in gentle circles on the insides and outsides of the teeth and gums.
- Brush the chewing surface of the teeth in a back and forth motion.
- Spit out toothpaste and rinse with clean water.
Most dentists do recommend helping your preschooler brush by finishing up for them or going over their teeth again just to make sure nothing gets missed.
Flossing Your Child’s Teeth
Many parents are worried about flossing their preschooler’s teeth, afraid they will hurt their child or they won’t be able to reach. However, dentists recommend flossing as soon as teeth grow in side by side to prevent cavities and decay. If you’re worried about using traditional string-style dental floss, consider using the flossing picks. Those are easier to fit in between toddlers’ and preschoolers’ small teeth and tend to be less scary for small children.
Make Dental Health Fun for Your Preschooler
At our Raleigh preschool, much of how the children learn is through play and fun! Our curriculum for toddlers and preschoolers is designed for exploring and discovery because that’s how small children learn best. Learning and engaging with dental health isn’t any different.
Make the morning and evening routine fun while teaching good dental health skills with these activities:
Sing a Tooth Brushing Song
Because children and adults should brush teeth for two minutes, which can feel like forever to a small child, singing or playing a song can make it more fun. The Sesame Street “Brushy Brush” song with Elmo is a lot of fun, but you can even take a song like “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” and change it to “This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth.” As parents and caregivers, we know we can make a song out of just about anything, if we have to!
Read Stories About Teeth and Toothbrushing
There are countless books for all ages to teach your child about how to take care of their teeth.
- The Tooth Book – A Dr. Seuss classic!
- SugarBug Doug – Perfect for teaching children about cavities and why it’s important to take care of their teeth!
- Open Wide: Tooth School Inside – Provides a fun, comprehensive look at teeth!
Coloring and Learning Activities
In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the ADA has full sets of activity sheets for toddlers and preschoolers, and they are available in both English and Spanish.
Contact Our 5 Star Child Care Centers in Raleigh
At Primary Beginnings, we are on a mission to provide the best possible care and education to young children and preschoolers. We seek to create an atmosphere designed to teach through play, exploration, and self-discovery to foster a love of learning. To learn more about our Raleigh preschool, call our North Hills Drive center at 919-785-0303 or our Spring Forest Road location at 919-790-6888.