Just like bedtime and baths, brushing teeth is another activity that seems to always create a battle between kids and parents. Whether it’s because the kids don’t know how to do it right, don’t want to do it right, or just plain don’t like it, this is a problem that has to be addressed because poor dental hygiene habits at a young age will create bigger health problems in the future. Just like parents read a bedtime story to help ease kids into sleep and add toys to the tub to make baths more enjoyable, so can parents enhance teeth brushing in a way that will make kids think it’s fun.
Ways to make brushing teeth fun:
- Make sure the equipment is “kid-approved”. Take your child to the store and let them pick out their toothbrush– if they choose it, then they’ll develop more of a connection to it and be excited about using it. Also, have them pick out a flavor of toothpaste that they will like and want to use. I know that as a kid, I looked forward to brushing my teeth simply because I got to use the sparkly bubblegum-flavored toothpaste. Another helpful tool is a one-minute or two-minute sand timer so they can physically see how long they should be brushing their teeth for.
- Get involved with the process too. Kids are natural imitators, so standing next to your child and brushing your teeth with them will really teach them how to properly brush their teeth because they’ll mimic your movements. Make it more exciting by turning on some of your kid’s favorite tunes and brush together to the rhythm of the songs. Be energetic and positive; kids love doing things just like their parents and so your participation is key in changing their opinion to thinking brushing teeth is fun.
- Create a rewards system. It’s no secret that children are motivated by the promise of a reward. Decorate a poster/chart with your child’s name on it and give him or her a “gold star” or special sticker each night they do well at brushing their teeth with a good attitude. Set a goal for them– after 10 stars, or maybe after a perfect week, they get a special treat or new toy or any simple thing that you know your child will get excited about. Not only will this get them wanting to brush their teeth, it will also encourage them to be consistent and work towards a goal.
Brianne writes for Antibraces.com a site dedicated to oral hygiene and Invisalign. The information provided at Antibraces shows how, if someone takes care of their mouth, brushes daily, and if needed gets clear braces, they have a happy mouth and healthy smile.