My nine year old son has horrible teeth brushing skills. He does brush his teeth before going to bed, but even I can tell that he still has a lot of gunk on his teeth. He isn’t in the habit of brushing in the morning. What can I do to help him develop better habits? We honestly can’t afford a dentist right now.
Sandy M.- Aberdeen, MS
I can tell you are a good mother and you want the best for your son. Here are some things that can help with his teeth brushing skills and habits. First, children often like charts. It helps them show they’ve accomplished something. You don’t want him to feel you are babying him about his teeth. Because you said he is good about brushing in the evening, let’s just focus on the morning brushing. Make him a morning chart that includes everything he needs to accomplish before school. Include his morning brushing on that.
Next, we’ll focus on his brushing habits. There are plaque “revealers”, such as Cool Agent Blue, that will help. They’re liquids that your son can switch around your mouth and it will show your son where he still has plaque left. These products have mixed reviews, but you could see if your son thinks it is fun. The second thing is the amount of time he brushes. Tell him it means to be a minium of two minutes. Cell phones have timers on them. You can have him set the timer, which will be more fun for him.
Make sure he has the right sized toothbrush for his mouth. You don’t want anything too big for him. Also, make sure they are soft bristles.
Now, I know you cannot afford a dentist at this time. Don’t feel guilty about that. Lots of families are going through tough times right now. However, check ups are very important to help prevent more serious issues. Were you aware that dental schools and dental hygiene schools do check up and cleanings? They have incredibly reasonable fees and do a great job. A friend in Arkansas takes her four children to the local dental school. They only charge $25 for the service.
This might be an option for you until you can save up for a pediatric dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.