Helping Your Kids Develop Good Brushing Habits for Life
Teaching your young kids how to properly brush their teeth can be quite the struggle. After all, they are still pretty uncoordinated with their fine motor skills, and they may get bored of brushing and not do an adequate job each night.
One way to help your kids get a good start with their oral hygiene is to get help from a dentist. Although you may just stop in for yearly check-ups, your dentist can use a jaw model to help kids improve their brushing. In fact, Tony Edwards–editor in chief of drbicuspid.com–presented a study recently that showed the benefits of educating children with a jaw model:
Teaching children with a jaw model was more effective in improving plaque index score than having them watch a video on a tablet computer, the authors concluded. They also noted that both methods of toothbrushing instruction were fully accepted by all children.
Each participant in the study used a new toothbrush, which may have contributed to plaque reduction more than using an already-used toothbrush, according to the authors. The children also brushed for two minutes, which is likely longer than they are brushing at home. Future studies should consider multiple viewings over time of the demonstration video to determine any effects, the group wrote.
“Within the limitations of this study, it is concluded that a single-time toothbrushing instruction for teaching children by using a jaw model was more effective in improving plaque index score than using video on a tablet,” the authors concluded.
Along with proper education, children should have get a new toothbrush every six months. These toothbrushes should be appealing and exciting to your child–they could even help you pick one out at the grocery store.
If your child doesn’t do a good job with a regular toothbrush, you may want to consider an electric one. Hygienist Colleen Olson outlines some of her favorite toothbrushes and their benefits–like a timer that will tell your child when to stop brushing:
My current favorite electric toothbrushes to recommend are the Oral-B rotation-oscillation power toothbrushes and the Philips Sonicare sonic electric toothbrushes. Each of these brands has many different models at a variety of price points. I personally use a Sonicare FlexCare Plus, but my husband loves his Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries.
Other than the differences in the way each toothbrush brand operates, there are a couple of differences and similarities worth noting. Both brands now have Bluetooth-connected toothbrush options that communicate with smartphone apps, and both brands have rechargeable versions available for kids.
The Oral-B line includes a wider selection of brush heads, including specialty options, such as those for orthodontics and for sensitivity. However, the Sonicare brush heads are smaller and look more like standard manual toothbrush heads.
My favorite feature of both brushes is the timer. Unless they are making a concerted effort to time themselves, most patients who brush with a manual toothbrush probably don’t actually brush for the recommended two minutes twice a day. With both the Oral-B and Sonicare brushes, there’s no excuse not to know how long you’ve been brushing. Both brushes buzz in 30-second intervals to remind patients to move to another quadrant of the mouth. Furthermore, at least one model in each toothbrush line has a pressure sensor, which comes in handy for patients who brush too aggressively.
When I’m recommending an electric toothbrush to patients, I usually recommend both brands and tell them that the best toothbrush for them is the one they will use the most consistently!
For more information about proper toothbrushing technique or tools, contact your dentist and take a look at lagunavistadental.com/services/preventive-dentistry/.