Category Archives: teach kids to brush teeth

Answers to All Your Brushing Questions

brushing teeth faq'sBrushing your teeth is one of the most important parts of your daily routine, and one of the most simple. However, there are still a lot of questions about brushing asked in our office, and a lot of misperceptions floating around. We’ll start with one of the most basic questions about brushing and all the frequently asked questions that go with it.

How do I brush my teeth correctly?

Use short strokes to gently brush each tooth, making sure you brush the front, back, and top of each tooth. Brush your gums as well. When you are done, rinse your toothbrush. Don’t brush too hard which can have the same negative effect on your teeth.

Do you start brushing on the same side of your mouth every time? If you haven’t thought about it before, it’s time to start noticing. Commonly, people brush harder when they start, so it’s important to spread that effort around your mouth. Once you’ve figured out which side you start on, alternate sides and make sure you’re brushing correctly and teaching your kids to do the same. If you have any questions, ask your dentist to demonstrate the correct way to brush your teeth at your next appointment.

How long should I brush my teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing for 2 minutes. Are you brushing long enough? Use a timer, or find another way to make sure you are hitting the 2 minute mark every time you brush. Do that twice a day, or 30 minutes after every meal.

How often do I need to get a new toothbrush?

Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3-4 months or earlier if the bristles fray.

Should I floss before or after I brush my teeth?

It doesn’t matter. It’s more important that you floss your teeth than the order in which it happens. Flossing is essential for removing harmful bacteria between your teeth, so not including this as part of your daily brushing routine can negatively affect your oral health.

How can I brush my sensitive teeth?

Owners of sensitive teeth, we’ve got great news for you! Brushing your teeth with toothpaste specifically formulated for people with sensitive teeth can actually alleviate the sensitivity of your pearly whites. Ask your dentist for the sensitive teeth toothpaste they recommend, and enjoy the benefits of having “less sensitive” sensitive teeth.

Should my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?

Usually, no. There are exceptions; women who are pregnant are one exception due to hormonal changes. For a normal, healthy person, however, your gums should not bleed when brushing. Regular bleeding gums may point to any number of medical or dental conditions. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice regular gum bleedings.

How do I teach my kids to brush my teeth?

Use technology. Use these fun videos to help your kids make sure they are brushing long enough, or download one of these cool apps to make brushing for two minutes fun.

Get toothbrushes (and toothpaste!) your kids like. Let them pick out fun toothbrushes that make them want to brush their teeth.

Show them how Mommy and Daddy (or a cool older sibling!) do it. Be a good role model. Brush often, and brush with your kids to get them in the habit.

Make it a game. Have kids pretend they are superheroes destroying cavities. Or try pretending that their toothbrush is a spaceship zapping away cavities. For the fairy-tale minded, pretend fairies are on their toothbrush. Or bring the zoo into your brushing habits by asking your lion to roar so you can brush his or her teeth!

Read books about brushing teeth. Find books about brushing teeth to read to your kids and add them to your reading routine.

Let them brush. Once your child is around two years old, allow them to brush their teeth (make sure they do it correctly, and help as needed). It makes them feel independent.

Have any more questions about brushing? Ask us via email or at your next dentist appointment. We’ll help in any way we can so you can keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

5 Ways to Help Your Kids Love (and not fear!) the Dentist

helping kids enjoy and not fear the dentistWe previously wrote a blog post about helping your kids learn (and like!) to brush their teeth, but what about enjoying dentist visits? After all, the American Dental Association recommends kids see the dentist by their first birthday, followed by regular biannual appointments. So how can you help your kids overcome their fears, and enjoy a lifetime of pleasant dentist visits?

  1. Show them how it’s done. Bring your child along to your routine dentist appointment (not for a root canal!), or to an older sibling’s appointment, and show them how pleasant it can be. Or schedule your appointments on the same day, and tell them you can go first. Many dentists also let you hold them on your lap during their visit.
  2. Read books with them BEFORE the visit. Some kids love surprises, and others don’t. If you have a child that doesn’t like surprises, tell them about the visit and read books about it. Give them a good idea of what to expect. Visit your local library to find kids books about going to the dentist.
  3. Play dentist. If your child has a favorite doll or stuffed animal, give the stuffed animal or doll a visit. Check the stuffed animal’s teeth, and count them to make sure they have all their teeth (this is a great way to teach counting too!). Practice saying “aaaaahhhh” and opening their mouth.
  4. Take along a favorite during the dentist visit. When it’s time to go to the dentist, don’t forget to take along your child’s favorite doll, blanket, stuffed animal or toy. Let them hold the toy the whole time. If your child is a toddler, be sure to ask the dentist for a sticker or toothbrush for your child’s favorite.
  5. Don’t let your nervousness show. Some kids are very sensitive, and can pick up on your fears about going to the dentist (even mild nervousness). Use positive words about the dentist, and don’t let on anything but a positive attitude (even in conversations with other people).

Another way to overcome their fears of dentist visits and enjoy a lifetime of dentist appointments is to choose your dentist carefully. Select a dentist that is comfortable with kids, and even interacts with kids in the community. A good dentist should be good with your kids, and a good listener that can answer your questions: two keys to helping your kids love (and not fear!) the dentist.

How to Teach Your Kids to Brush their Teeth (and like it!)

teaching kids to brush teethOften, our kids are a case of the extremes when it comes to establishing good, solid brushing habits: they either leave toothpaste all over the bathroom from goofing around (how did they get toothpaste there???) or they’re screaming in protest at the mere thought of a toothbrush. A child with good brushing habits is somewhere in the middle, taking their brushing habits (somewhat) seriously and willingly.

With new medical studies regularly connecting good oral health to overall health, the importance of establishing good brushing habits is more important than ever. So how can you teach your kids to brush their teeth (and like it)? Because every child is different, you may have to try one (or several of) these strategies to see what your child enjoys:

  • Use technology. Use these fun videos to help your kids make sure they are brushing long enough, or download one of these cool apps to make brushing for two minutes fun.
  • Get toothbrushes (and toothpaste!) your kids like. Let them pick out fun toothbrushes that make them want to brush their teeth.
  • Show them how Mommy and Daddy (or a cool older sibling!) do it. Be a good role model. Brush often, and brush with your kids to get them in the habit.
  • Make it a game. Have kids pretend they are superheroes destroying cavities. Or try pretending that their toothbrush is a spaceship zapping away cavities. For the fairy-tale minded, pretend fairies are on their toothbrush. Or bring the zoo into your brushing habits by asking your lion to roar so you can brush his or her teeth!
  • Read books about brushing teeth. Find books about brushing teeth to read to your kids and add them to your reading routine.
  • Let them brush. Once your child is around two years old, allow them to brush their teeth. It makes them feel independent.

teach kids about good toothbrushing habitsIf your kids are in a local southeastern Wisconsin day care or school, have your kids hear about the importance of brushing habits straight from the source: from the dental hygienists that clean their teeth. Call Watertown Area Dental to set up a fun and interactive presentation for your kids. And don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about establishing good brushing habits in your children. Your kids, their mouths and overall health, will thank you later.