As a parent, it’s up to you to teach your child how and why they should brush their teeth. Some kids grasp the concept right away, while others don’t. There may even be times when your child refuses to brush their teeth. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of this habit and how to make brushing teeth fun for toddlers and older kids.
Why Is Brushing Teeth Important?
Helping children develop regular brushing habits is essential, as the first few years of life shape their habits as adults. Encourage your children to brush their teeth to avoid common oral health issues such as:
- Plaque buildup.
- Tooth decay and cavities.
- Bad breath.
- Gum disease.
Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth
Convincing children to brush their teeth regularly is a common struggle among parents. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to teach brushing teeth that make it more fun for your children. Just be sure to monitor their brushing so that the fun coincides with a thorough cleaning.
Make It a Game
Boredom is a common reason why children push back against brushing their teeth, so why not turn dental hygiene into a game? The two minutes spent brushing their teeth will fly by when you find a way to make the process fun. One method is to have your child make believe that the plaque and germs are bad guys and their toothbrush gives them the power to save the day.
Sing a Song
Singing a song is another way to beat boredom while your children brush their teeth. Spend the two minutes singing or humming along to a short song, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Or, stretch your creative muscles to make up a fun song about keeping your teeth clean.
Tell a Story
Telling stories during teeth brushing time is another great way to pass the time and help your children look forward to the process. Some ways to go about this include:
- Make up a silly story on the spot to keep your child engaged.
- Collect a pile of short stories or children’s books to read when they brush their teeth.
- Read a piece of a longer book or story each time they brush.
Let Them Choose Their Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Toothbrush and toothpaste brands make kids’ products that feature flashy colors, yummy flavors or characters from their favorite shows and movies. Allowing your child to choose their toothbrush and toothpaste will fill brushing time with fun, and they’ll associate dental hygiene with things they already love.
Give a Reward
You can also build positive associations by rewarding your children for brushing their teeth. Try creating a calendar that they can mark twice a day after brushing their teeth. Set a goal and fun reward for consistent brushing so that they have something to strive for.
Brush With Them
Your kid looks up to you and wants to emulate your habits. Brushing your teeth with them will show your child that you do it, too. It will also help establish a consistent routine for both you and your child. The little details matter when maintaining oral hygiene and building a strong relationship with your kid, and brushing teeth together is one small gesture that can make a massive difference.
Teach Your Child an Effective Brushing Routine
You’ll brush your children’s teeth for them during the first couple of years of their lives, but by the age of 3, it’s time to ease them into an independent brushing routine until they are 7 or 8 years old. Brush your teeth with your children to show them the right methods and how long they should spend on their oral hygiene. Here are some important touchpoints:
- Brush for two minutes in the morning and at night.
- Scrub back and forth along the top, front and back of every tooth.
- Group parts of the teeth into sections and spend 10 to 15 seconds on each one.
- Brush the tongue and roof of the mouth, too.
- Floss before brushing.
Visit Fox Kids Dentistry for Pediatric Dentistry Services
Regular visits to the dentist’s office are vital to maintaining a child’s healthy smile. At Fox Kids Dentistry, our friendly staff members help children understand how and why they should take care of their teeth at home. We encourage you to contact us online to request an appointment at our office in Portland, Oregon.