Many times when pediatric dentists ask parents how brushing is going at home they often reply in two ways, “Oh, he doesn’t let me brush his teeth” or “She loves to brush her teeth by herself”. As gross as it may sound, I often remind parents that a child will often fuss and squirm when you try to change his dirty diaper, but you still do it anyway, right? The same is true for teeth.
The child may not like it, but you are not hurting them when you are brushing. In fact, it is a far greater disservice to the oral health of your child not to brush. You just have to do it. When you leave food on teeth all night you are creating the perfect environment for bacteria to cause cavities. And to the parent who thinks a child can brush all on their own, research shows that a child does not have the dexterity to brush her own teeth until she is 9-10 years old.
To these parents I often say that the child can have some independence and brush her own teeth but you HAVE to go in after the child to get the spots they often miss (back teeth and at the gumline). This photo demonstrates the perfect position for parents who are struggling with their child to brush!