If you’re a parent, you’ve developed your own tricks for getting your kids to do things that they may not want to do. At South University Dental Associates, we decided to compile the best tips and tricks to help you get your kids set on a lifetime of healthy oral hygiene habits. 

Teaching children to brush is important

Life is busy, and your children's oral hygiene may not always make it on the top of the priority list. Understandably, some parents may think that letting brushing slide for the littlest of children may be alright, since their first set of teeth will soon fall out and be replaced with a new set. But tooth decay, even in baby teeth, can have far ranging effects on overall health that can last a lifetime. for that reason, it is essential that young children learn to brush their teeth, we've compiled some tips and tricks to help you make that happen.

4 Tips for convincing kids to brush their teeth

Here are some of the best tips and tricks for teaching your children to brush their teeth consistently. 

1. Make sure they see you brushing your teeth

If you’ve ever let a bad word slip in front of your child by mistake, you know how easily children pick up on the world around them. One of the most successful ways to instill a habit of brushing in your child is to demonstrate it for them, twice a day. Children naturally copy what you do, and will pick up on all your habits, for better or for worse. 

If you brush and floss regularly with your children, this is great news. If you’re prone to forget, or do it at different times than them, it may be one more great reason to make sure your own dental care is up to par. If you live near Fargo North Dakota, South University Dental Associates can help you make sure you’re caught up on your own dental maintenance, and they can help your family with their dental care too. 

2. Make brushing teeth fun

We know that kids pick up on the cues we send them. So one of the most effective ways to get kids to brush is to treat brushing like a fun activity, not a chore. Make funny faces in the mirror, smile while you brush, and treat tooth brushing with them as if it were a game. You might even try turning on some music and dancing around a little - whatever it takes to make oral care a fun habit, and something that your child looks forward to. Who knows - you just might find yourself enjoying it too.

Pro tip: take a look at Brush DJ, a free app that plays two minute songs for kids to help make brushing fun.

3. Let them pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste

Another way to make brushing fun is by letting your kids choose their own brushing equipment. Make it a memory by stopping in the oral care aisle and letting them pick the toothbrush they want for themselves, like it’s a reward or special treat. 

Now, you can usually find their favorite video game or tv show characters on toothbrushes specifically designed for kids, so a small investment into fun tools can lead to a big return in their enthusiasm. 

Pro tip: go the extra mile and let your child pick out two toothbrushes, and two toothpastes. Then, give them a choice each day about which one they want to use. Options allow for a more fun experience, but they also have the added benefit of subtle manipulation. Instead of telling your child to brush your teeth, (Ito which they might reply “no!”), you can instead ask, “which toothbrush, Roblox, or Lego?” and they won’t even realize that saying “no” is an option. 

4. Compliment their brushing skills

We all like to be successful, and children are no different. Being encouraged for their good behavior will often inspire them to continue performing in a similar way in the future. 

Make sure to limit your criticism as much as possible at first - even if they’re making a mess. Over time, you can help them become a more capable brusher, but make sure they’re establishing a healthy habit first. 

Pro tip: a star chart on the inside of a medicine cabinet or on a bathroom wall is an excellent way to encourage and motivate them to keep their streak alive. You may soon find them looking forward to their twice-a-day brushes. 

Teach your child to brush correctly

No matter what techniques or tricks you try, make sure that you’re spending time with your child, teaching them to take care of their teeth. You’ll be instilling a lifelong habit that will help them lead a healthier life, and you’ll be using the time you have together to build relationships. It may not feel like it at the time, but these early days of parenting go by quickly, and you may one day look back fondly on little moments like brushing together. 

These tips will help you teach your child to brush their teeth consistently, so you can spend less time worrying about their oral health, and more time enjoying your child as they grow up.