When children reach the toddler years, it’s time for them to begin brushing their teeth with a safe, fluoride free toothpaste. As a parent, it’s important to teach young children the correct brushing techniques on their baby teeth to help guarantee strong permanent teeth in the future. Make dental care part of your child’s regular daily routine.
Why no Fluoride For Kids?
A young child doesn’t have the motor control to spit out all the toothpaste in his mouth. Some kids even like the taste and eat toothpaste like candy. At this age, it’s best to use a fluoride free toothpaste, as the amount of fluoride in fortified toothpaste is not considered safe to swallow. You want the toothpaste to effectively clean your child’s teeth, not to end up in his tummy.
Brushing Requires the Right Technique
Your youngster likes to watch his favorite person — himself — when he brushes his teeth. Make sure to position him in front of the bathroom vanity or hang a magnifying mirror from the bathroom towel rack, to dangle about two feet above the floor. He’ll do a better job at brushing when he sees what he’s doing. Here are a few tips for the technique and to make this task fun:
• Take your child to the store to pick out a favorite-colored toothbrush, making sure it has a small head just for kids and very soft bristles.
• Place a pea-sized amount of the fluoride free toothpaste on the brush and press it into the bristles. Demonstrate how to make little circles on his teeth and gums with the brush.
•Then, make back-and-forth strokes on the flat biting surfaces in back. Tell your child it’s like brushing on a race track — be sure to complete the circuit around the entire course. At this age, the brushing will not be perfect, but you are training your child for a lifetime of dental hygiene that will ensure a beautiful smile as he gets older.
•Always praise your child for his efforts and then say, “My turn.” Check your youngster’s mouth for any missed areas and go back and clean these spaces yourself. Brushing teeth will be a two-person job until the age of six or later.
•Aim for a two-minute brushing session, twice a day. Use tools like a wind-up timer or sing one of your child’s favorite songs while he brushes. Tell him to continue the brushing strokes until you finish singing.
•Create a tooth-brushing chart and place a sticker on it each time your child brushes. A child’s world is visual, so seeing his progress will encourage him to stick to the schedule.
Tom’s of Maine makes a natural strawberry-flavored fluoride free toothpaste that is perfect for a younger child, and free of artificial and potentially harmful ingredients. For later in life, Tom’s of Maine also makes toothpaste formulations with fluoride. Always check with your child’s dental health professional to see what he or she recommends for your child’s health.
Written by: Tania K. Cowling