Getting kids to buy into brushing their teeth regularly is one of the best things a parent can do for their child’s teeth. Creating an environment where a child wants to brush their teeth, or at a minimum doesn’t hate doing it, is easier said than done. Try different techniques to see what works best for your kids, because getting them to establish a brushing routine will not only protect their teeth for decades, but it may also lower your dental bill.
Everyone has their own theory for how to best get kids to buy into a healthy dental routine, but we’ve talked with a lot of parents and have a good gauge for what seems to work best. Here are our five industry tips for getting your kids to brush their teeth regularly.
Getting Kids To Brush Their Teeth
Try one or more of these techniques if you’re trying to help your child establish a good brushing routine.
- Have Fun – Brushing your teeth doesn’t need to be boring. Turn on some music or have a dance party while you brush. This will help your child associate brushing their teeth with other fun activities, and this will help brushing become routine.
- Stick to the Plan – If the kids have had a long day and are clearly overtired, it can be easy to just ship them off to bed without going through the normal bedtime routine. The problem with this is that if skipping brushing happens more than once a week, your child is going to have a tough time developing a habit where brushing their teeth before bed becomes the norm. Same goes for in the morning. Get them out of bed and into the bathroom to brush their teeth. Skipping brushing sessions hurts the formation of a regular routine.
- Incorporate Their Interests – If your child has a favorite cartoon character, try to work that character into the brushing routine. See if you can find them on a toothbrush, or see if Youtube has two-minute videos featuring that character your child can watch while they brush their teeth. There are also apps that feature some favorite cartoon characters that can help make brushing more relatable to your child.
- Make it a Family Affair – When children are young, they want to be like their parents, so make sure you are setting a good example for your children. Better yet, make time to brush your teeth at the same time as your child so they can see that you also value your smile. They are going to want to be like you, so lead by example.
- Avoid Reward/Discipline – Finally, we’ve found that reward or discipline systems aren’t always the best route to pursue. We understand that holding back ice cream until your child eats their vegetables may work well at the dinner table, but punishing bad brushing behaviors doesn’t help to foster a healthy attitude about brushing. They are going to view brushing as a means to an end, not as a routine activity that needs to be performed. We want children to want to brush their teeth, not children who brush just to get it over with and avoid punishment. To each their own, but we’ve found that this may not be the best strategy.
For more tips, or for questions about your child’s dental health, reach out to Smiles for Life Dental today.