Family Dentistry at Oceanside: What To Do When Your Child Won’t Brush

Family dentistry at Oceanside

In Family Dentistry at Oceanside, we stress the importance of caring for your child’s baby teeth. Your child’s primary teeth, or baby teeth, are just as vital to their health, speech development, and self-esteem as their permanent teeth. Some Oceanside parents we meet at Oceanside Dental Excellence hold the misconception that the care of primary teeth is secondary to adult teeth since they will eventually fall out.

Importance of Baby Teeth

The truth is that the twenty primary teeth lay the foundation for the health of adult teeth and a beautiful smile. Taking care of these teeth is very important.

A dislike for brushing is understandable. A parent takes a bristly stick, smears some minty paste on it, puts it in their mouth and scrubs their teeth with it. No wonder it doesn’t appeal to a lot of younger children. Sometimes the battle boils to a point where parents just want to give up. However, it’s very important that you don’t.

Getting Your Little One to Brush Their Teeth

If it is problematic to get your child to brush regularly, we have several suggestions and ideas that we’ve picked up in our practice of general and family dentistry at Oceanside.

If the toothpaste is the trouble, brush with a smaller amount or even without it, at first. The goal is to remove food particles that will lead to plaque and bacteria, eventually causing tooth decay. Toothpaste is not necessary for removing food particles. Fluoride is important, however. If your water is not fluoridated, talk to Dr. Dankworth about fluoride supplements.

Take your child to the store and have them choose a new, soft-bristled toothbrush. Maybe buy two, so your child has some control in picking which toothbrush they use each time they brush.

Furthermore, you can try to let your child do the brushing, then inspect and brush the areas that might have been missed. Have your child with you when you and your spouse are brushing your teeth. Let your son or daughter know that everyone needs to brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day. Invite your child to look in the mirror and brush at the same time.

To develop the habit, keep the time short and slowly lengthen the sessions. Brush heads are hard with bristles that poke. Toothpaste may seem too “hot” to some babies. Teaching your child that brushing is non-negotiable is the vital first step. After it has become part of the routine, add time by singing songs or brushing your teeth at the same time. Some California parents have had success with setting a timer.

Lastly, compliment your child on their wonderful effort in taking care of themselves. Be sure to maintain a positive attitude. Let your child know that you love their pleasing smile and want it to always be shiny white. Positive reinforcement and establishing a routine are vital parts of childhood dental brushing. We want children to be dedicated to a habit that will affect their health throughout their life.

Ask Us About Family Dentistry at Oceanside

If your child continues to struggle with brushing, you may think about sealants. Sealants are beneficial protective barriers applied to the biting surfaces of teeth. A sealant aids in preventing food particles from lodging in difficult places to brush – usually in the pits and grooves in the molars in the back of the mouth.

Call today to schedule an appointment and meet with Dr. Stephen and Kimberly Dankworth about your child’s oral hygiene or any other concern you may have. If you ever have an emergency with your child’s dental health, please ask about our emergency dental care. If you’d like to learn more about family dentistry at Oceanside Dental Excellence, feel free to ask us a question on our website.

Contact Oceanside Dental Excellence:


Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

3762 Mission Ave Ste 104
Oceanside, California