End the Brushing Battles



End the Brushing Battles

By Victoria Scanlan Stefanakos

Ending the brushing battles. Getting your kids to brush their teeth twice a day can be a struggle at any age. Parents know they’ll have to be involved with the dental health of toddlers, but with older kids, they often set themselves (and their children) up for failure by expecting too much, according to Dr. Brian LeSage, a Beverly Hills, Calif., dentist and father of two.

Parents should plan to brush their kids’ teeth until the age of 6 and supervise until they’re 12. Here are Dr. LeSage’s tips for teaching good brushing habits from an early age, without having to nag.

Little Kids (Ages 3-5)

Baby teeth are important to digestion, proper tooth spacing and airway development. If you haven’t already taken your child to a dentist who works with kids (experts recommend starting at age 1), do it now. Meanwhile, find a toothbrush (or several) and toothpaste your kids love. Start your dental routine by letting your child play with his toothbrush for a minute so he feels as if he’s brushing his own teeth; this will also help him to get the sense of his own mouth. Then take over, says LeSage. Brush gently and make it fun.

Big Kids (Ages 6-9)

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