Your child’s oral hygiene and health is incredibly important and something that you need to take seriously from the moment they begin teething. Although your child will eventually lose all of their baby teeth, any Katy pediatric dentist will tell you that poor oral hygiene during their earlier years can result in permanent oral issues that will haunt them for the rest of their life.
One of the biggest mistakes that many parents make regarding their children’s oral hygiene is to allow their young ones to begin brushing their own teeth before they’re fully ready. Brushing one’s teeth is an important responsibility and is not something to be taken lightly. This means that no matter how much your child begs you to let them brush their own teeth, it is still important that you ensure they are fully ready before you finally acquiesce to their demands. Otherwise, there is a high chance that your child won’t brush their teeth properly, which could result in cavities and a range of other dental issues.
How to Tell If Your Child Is Ready to Brush Their Own Teeth
Every child develops at a different rate, which means that some children may be up to the task long before others. It’s usually a good idea to brush your child’s teeth for them at least until they enter elementary school and are around six years old. However, depending on how well they measure up to the following signs, it may be necessary for you to continue doing the brushing for another few years until they’ve proven themselves fully up to the task.
Monitor Their Dexterity and Motor Skills
There is no way that your child will be ready to handle brushing their teeth properly until they’ve begun to fully refine their dexterity and motor skills. This means that they should be able to write well (legibly) and tie their own shoes with no problems. Properly brushing one’s teeth requires cleaning the teeth from all angles, which in turn requires a certain level of dexterity. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your child has the dexterity it takes before you allow them to undertake the task on their own.
Pay Attention to Their Level of Responsibility
Although you may still need to remind your child to brush their teeth twice a day until their later teen years, it is still important to determine whether your child is responsible enough to brush properly before you let them do it on their own. In this sense, pay attention to how well your son or daughter gets their chores done and does their homework. Once they can successfully handle these tasks, it’s a sign that they’re probably ready for the responsibility of properly brushing.
Focus on Their Overall Level of Hygiene
If your son or daughter can’t shower or wash their hair on their own, they’re not ready to brush their teeth on their own either. On the other hand, if they begin showing that they take their personal hygiene seriously; it could be time to let them try their hand at handling their oral hygiene as well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Check
Even once your child does start brushing their teeth on their own, it is still important to make sure that they’re doing it properly. One easy way is to regularly have them chew a special plaque-revealing tablet prior to brushing. These tablets cause all plaque to change to a bright, easily noticeable color, which allows you to easily see whether they are getting their teeth fully cleaned. If you can see any color remaining after they’ve brushed, it means you should consider taking over the brushing responsibilities until they can prove they can do it properly.
In addition to regularly seeing a Katy pediatric dentist, brushing is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s dental health. Although you may think that it is helping to teach them responsibility, the truth is that you’re doing your child a huge disservice by allowing them to brush their teeth before they’re ready. For this reason, it is important that you pay attention to the following factors to ensure your child is ready for the responsibility. While they may not like you brushing their teeth now, they will thank you for it eventually.
Greater Houston Pediatric Dentistry is located in West Houston and Katy, Texas. Our board-certified dentists specialize in treating children in a fun, safe and learning environment. We invite you to make an appointment for your child’s dental needs online or by calling: (832) 437-1110