How to Encourage Children to Brush Their Teeth
Regular brushing is vital to your child’s oral health. Brushing twice a day removes damaging plaque from their teeth and reduces the occurrence of cavities and other oral problems. But despite the importance of brushing, it isn’t always easy to get your kids to brush regularly. Often, children simply don't grasp the importance of oral care, and end up dealing with the consequences for the long term.
At South University Dental Associates, as parents ourselves, we have come up with a few tips and tricks to make brushing fun.
6 Fun Ways to Encourage Children to Brush Their Teeth
The following tips are especially helpful for kickstarting and sustaining a long-term oral care habit. it is important to emphasize that true progress comes from building a healthy habit, and habits are built through consistency. That means consistent brushing every single day. Even missing one day significantly weakens the strength of the habit you're helping your child to build. The first step to getting your kids to brush their teeth is to make it a part of their daily routine and then use these tips to make it fun!
1. Let Them Choose Their Oral Care Supplies
Plan a special trip to the store to get a new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and any other oral supplies you need. With your guidance to ensure they select age appropriate supplies, let them choose whatever items they enjoy most. While shopping, make the experience fun and build up the idea of getting to use these supplies when they brush their teeth every day.
2. Play “Beat the Timer”
Get a two minute brushing timer, and use it to make brushing into a game. Encourage them to brush longer than the timer and they get a little prize, like a sticker. Even small efforts to gamify the experience can go a long way in making it more enjoyable for your little one (and as a result, more enjoyable for you too!)
3. Have Your Kids Brush Their Teeth to a Song
Brushing your teeth doesn't have to be boring. If your child avoids brushing their teeth, consider playing music your child likes to listen to. Better yet, make a Spotify playlist just for brushing teeth, and only let them listen to it while they brush. An added bonus of this method is that brushing to a song will encourage them to brush for the recommended length of time, which is at least two minutes. Your kids will have so much fun, they'll be done brushing their teeth in no time.
4. Use The Power Of Screen time
It can sometimes be difficult to keep our kids eyes off of screens because they're so engaging. Use the power of the screen to your advantage when it comes to brushing their teeth, by playing a special video while they brush. Instead of treating the activity as a chore, Hype up the toothbrushing experience with video as a treat. Here's a few quick options:
- Super Simple Monsters - Youtube
- Blippi - Two Minutes Toothbrushing Song
- Mickey Mouse - Brush To The Beat
5. Incentivize Brushing
Rewarding your kids for brushing can help make the routine more enjoyable. Using small incentives or a star chart can help your children find success in brushing. These incentives don't have to be large- even small incentives can make the difference. This Star Chart Template can help get you started with incentives for your child.
6. Brush Your Teeth Together
You can set a great example for your kids by brushing with them. Make it a part of your morning and evening routine. Your kiddos will look forward to brushing with you, and you'll get the chance to spend a little more quality time with your child, all while helping them build healthy habits for their future.
Above All, Remember to Make Brushing Fun
Just like kids, we avoid tasks we're not interested in. Unlike kids, we have a fully developed brain that helps us understand the benefit of long-term health maintenance. Children don't have the capacity to fully weigh the long term benefits of their actions, and they tend to build their behavior around relatively short-term incentives. By making brushing fun, we change the incentives of brushing to ones that align with the ways children naturally think. Instead of brushing only offering long-term and abstract incentives, we make brushing fun, and it also delivers short-term incentives to encourage their behavior. In time, these behaviors will form into lifelong habits, thanks you your hard work!
With these tips in mind, you are now equipped with a few tips and tricks to make brushing more fun for your kids, but if you continue to have troubles we would love to chat with you about it. The next time you visit South University Dental Associates in Fargo, don’t hesitate to bring up your concerns.