Anyone with a small child knows the daily struggle to get them to brush their teeth once, let alone twice, a day. It’s not fun for anyone, and it takes time away from play! Luckily, there are some things you can do (other than nagging or yelling) that will make the daily chore of brushing teeth fun and even something that they actually look forward to! Below, Flintlock Dental will give you ideas that will add some fun to dental hygiene and get kids to actually brush their teeth.
1. Lead By Example
The best and easiest way to get your young children on board for daily teeth brushing is by setting a good example. Let them see you taking the 2 minutes out of each morning and evening to brush your own teeth. Get down on their level and show them what you’re doing, and explain to them why you do it and why good oral hygiene is important. If they see you taking the time to brush your teeth, they will want to do it too. Take advantage of the age when there’s nothing more your child wants than to be just like you!
2. Let Them Pick Out Their Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Take your children to the store, and let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. This will make them feel important and in charge of their brushing habits. Small kids love to test their independence, so it’s helpful if you give them the opportunity to do so within safe, healthy boundaries. If they remember that they got to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste, they will be more likely to want to use them.
3. Start Early
You can start brushing your child’s gums and let them get used to the habit right away after they’re born. You can use your clean finger, moistened gauze, or washcloth for this task before any teeth come in by rubbing the gums gently. After the first tooth arrives, you can start brushing! This will not only start them off on the right track with good oral hygiene, but it will also get your child into a daily habit of taking care of his or her gums and teeth. As you help them brush their teeth, make sure you explain to them why oral hygiene is important. Let them know that good brushing habits keep a beautiful smile and healthy teeth and gums. As kids get older, they love to ask why we do the things we do!
4. Make a Game Out of It
You should brush your teeth for 2 minutes, both in the morning and at night, which can seem like an eternity for a small child! Make brushing their teeth fun by turning it into a game. This could be as simple as setting a timer for 2 minutes and counting down. You could also turn on some good music and have a tooth brushing dance party for those 2 minutes. Or brush your teeth along with your child and have a contest of who can make the most foam while brushing their teeth!
5. Story Time
The life of your child is sure to be orbiting around characters of all kinds, from Sesame Street to Disney Junior. If you’re trying to help your child get in a good routine and care for their teeth, you can find all kinds of storybooks and television episodes about dental hygiene. What better way to help get your child get excited about brushing their teeth than seeing that Elmo and Doc McStuffins enjoy brushing their teeth too?
6. Start a Routine
It’s so important that, no matter how you get your children excited about brushing their teeth, you set up a routine for this chore and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend or you’re on vacation – everyone should brush their teeth every morning and evening. Consistency is extremely helpful for small children, so stick with it no matter the day or circumstance.
From letting your child pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste to setting up a schedule and staying with it, the healthy habit of brushing a child’s teeth daily is one that you want to start as soon as you can. If that means dancing around the house for 2 minutes while they brush or making a mess while they learn to put toothpaste on the brush themselves, that’s fine. Try to enjoy the process to make it more fun for everyone involved. Help them set up a good oral hygiene habit that will last a lifetime!
If you want some more ideas to make dental hygiene more fun for kids, try out some of these alternate uses for dental floss. They may get your kid more interested in how flossing works!