Encouraging Kids to Brush Their Teeth

March 21, 2022 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

One of the most rewarding and joyful experiences someone can have is raising kids. A big part of being a parent, however, is teaching your child important life skills and habits like brushing their teeth. This is often difficult but as our Shelby Township, MI, dentists urge, a worthwhile endeavor.

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To help you in your efforts, here are a few strategies you can use when teaching kids how to brush their teeth.

Remember, Your Kids Will Copy You

Kids will often watch their parents and then try to reenact whatever it is they are doing. If you are able to adjust your teeth cleaning routine to match the schedule you want your kids to be on, it will seem natural to them and you can capitalize on their inclination to be just like mom or dad.

Use this toothbrush guide based on age to make it easier for your child:

  • 0-3: silicone finger slip toothbrush once teeth begin to erupt. After age 1, parents can use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head
  • 3-5: kid-sized toothbrush; typically, one with a larger handle
  • 6-9: kid-sized toothbrush: one with a slimmer handle than those for toddlers
  • 10+: adult sized toothbrush

Children are also notable helpers and love finding ways to assist you throughout the day. If they are interested in helping you brush your teeth, use that opportunity to make an easy game out of brushing each other’s teeth.

Make it Fun & Enjoyable

Forcing anything on your kids will rarely, if ever, end well. Chances are, they will end up resenting it in the end if you try too hard. It’s important to be more open and conversational about the value of teeth brushing rather than staunch and demanding.

You can liven up the task of brushing teeth for your child by finding a toothbrush that’s either their favorite color, features a cartoon character, animal, or other favorite toy as part of the design. You’d be surprised how much their love for the look of the toothbrush will influence their desire to practice the habit.

Many toothpastes are also designed specifically for kids and are naturally sweetened or lightly flavored, which will certainly help them be more willing to brush regularly.

Get Creative With Your Approach

There are a lot of creative ways to make brushing teeth fun for kids. For example, you can make a game between you and your kids over who can do a better job brushing.

You can also put on their favorite songs to make it to that 2 minute mark or have them watch an educational video while they clean. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can even craft a unique, fun story to tell your kids about why brushing your teeth is important.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement can really help encourage your kids to maintain good habits over time. The rewards for a good day of cleaning and brushing their teeth don’t have to be extravagant and can be fairly basic. For example, they could earn 15 extra minutes of playtime before bedtime or their favorite dinner one night during the week.

Some parents lump oral care into other healthy routines and set an incentive for completing a certain number of days or weeks. A calendar with stickers is a great way to mark a job well done!

Schedule an Appointment Today

We want your kids to have a positive view of taking care of their oral health, and brushing their teeth is a major part of that. Our dentists in Shelby Township, MI are experts at talking with kids and parents about the importance of brushing teeth and maintaining good oral health overall. Request an appointment by calling the dental office of Jeffrey T. Baker DDS PC today at (586) 992-9222.

This blog post has been updated.

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