Brushing teeth is an important aspect of healthy living and oral health. Establishing these routines are sometimes difficult for all children, especially those with special needs. This blog will help assist caregivers to get your child to learn to love brushing their teeth. 

To begin these routines, we want this to be a positive experience for you and your child. A great place to start is picking out the tooth brush. For children, there are endless options, whether it be their favorite color, favorite movie character, etc. Having a tooth brush your child likes is simple and can make a world of difference. Let your child know you are going to the store to pick out their supercool toothbrush! Along with this, pick up a few different toothpaste flavors. You and your child could “try them out” identifying their favorite one. There are flavors such as mint, bubble gum, different fruits, and even more! You can also have your child watch you brush your teeth, showing them what you do. Some children may even enjoy trying to brush their parents’ teeth. This could be a great step in gaining comfort with the process. 

Next, create a visual. Your team at Blue Bird Day can help you with thisVisuals are great tools for children to use when learning new skills and to help them practice all the necessary steps. Your visual would be small and could easily be kept in the bathroom where your child brushes their teeth. This can act like a handy “check-list” and would include pictures such as:

  1. Getting toothbrush and toothpaste 
  2. Put a small dot of toothpaste onto the brush
  3. Rinse toothbrush under water 
  4. Brush teeth (more information below)
  5. Spit remainder of toothpaste into sink 
  6. Rinse toothbrush under water
  7. Rinse mouth with water/spit

While teaching your child to brush their teeth, it may be best to prompt them through this process and then gradually fade back your support once they begin to be more comfortable and get the hang of it. Start by doing hand-over-hand assistance, so your child can learn the motions. While assisting your child, try and tell them where to brush, such as fronts, tops and backs of teeth. For children, it is also good to quantify these processes, so they learn how long is efficient. Some parents have found it useful to establish “rules”, such as brushing each area for 5 strokes5 seconds, or using a timer.

Establishing a routine is really important for you and your child. Ensure that they are practicing to brush their teeth every morning and evening. By creating this routine, your child will become more and more comfortable with this and their healthy living routines will be stronger. Find what works for you and your child and be consistent! Another fun tip could be singing songs with your child while brushing their teeth. With YouTube nowadays, there are endless options. Some favorites are listed below!  

In conclusion, it’s important to make healthy living routines such as brushing teeth to be positive ones for you and your child. Supporting and helping them at the beginning allows them to begin gaining these skills and working toward the goal of independence!  

Toothbrushing songs:  

Blue Bird Day fosters socialization, sensory regulation, and pre-academic learning in children ages 2-7 years in therapeutic rotations that simulate  preschool and kindergarten settings. Our compassionate therapists practice a relationship-based and family-centered approach, provide parent training, and collaborate on goals and individualized intensive treatment plans for your child.

We believe in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary team approach to therapy. A team of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, dietitians, developmental therapists, behavioral therapists, physical therapists, and therapeutic assistants are created for each child to ensure child and family are fully supported and the best possible results are achieved.  

Options for individualized, group and virtual therapy sessions are available as well. 

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here! 

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