How to Motivate Kids to Regularly and Properly Brush Their Teeth?
Sending your child down the path of proper oral care habits is filled with many challenges. From temper tantrums and refusing to brush for the entire two minutes to failing to understand why is brushing so important when they have other important matters to attend to (read: they don’t want to waste even a second of their precious playtime!), some level of frustration will surely come about along the way.
But there are ways and methods bound to keep your stress levels in check and help your child become more open to the idea of brushing, from using stuffed animals with teeth to allowing them to pick their dental care products themselves.
Keep in mind that the younger they are when they adopt this essential dental care habit, the lesser the chance they will have to deal with serious dental problems in the future, so keep reading if you want to find out more.
Be straightforward about why everyday brushing is critical. Use age-appropriate explanations, of course, but don’t underestimate your kid’s capacity to understand what you have to say. If they learn that harmful bacteria will breed quickly in their mouth if they neglect their oral hygiene and that their toothbrush and toothpaste act as a superhero/sidekick duo helping them fight off the enemy, they will be more willing to brush!
Establishing a solid dental care routine where you always have your child brush their teeth at the approximately same time of the day is crucial. You can ensure it’s always followed by some sort of pleasant activity so that they have something to look forward to when they are done. This can include everything from reading their favorite story to letting them watch their favorite cartoon for 15 minutes.
Pick the Right Toothpaste Flavor
Nowadays, numerous toothpaste flavors are available on the market. While adults enjoy fresh, minty brushing aftertaste in their mouth, the situation is entirely different with kids. They prefer fruity flavors, including strawberry, bubble gum, watermelon, or mango. Sweet flavored toothpaste like vanilla and chocolate are other popular options and the best thing about them is that they don’t contain any sugars but sweeteners that are naturally present in fruits and vegetables, can be fluoride-free, and are entirely safe for a child if swallowed. Don’t forget to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing your product though!
Create a Reward System
Coming up with a reward system can produce some truly outstanding results. It’s based on positive reinforcement where a small incentive is offered to a kid every time they perform some of their dental care tasks with success. You can devise an entire system of achievements and rules for rewards where you will give them stickers or other small prizes to encourage good behavior and consistency. For instance, you can give them a sticker if they brush two times a day for two minutes each time, for an entire week.
Listen to Music
Brushing doesn’t have to be dull whatsoever, and you can complement this activity with something as simple as playing your kid’s fave song. It will provide them with a perfect background and encourage them to keep brushing until the end of a song. Let it go, let it go!
Use Stuffed Animals With Teeth
Nowadays, various dental plushies can be of tremendous help when it comes to instilling proper brushing habits in your child. You can use them as a perfect educational tool for explaining correct brushing techniques to your kid and encourage them to repeat what they’ve learned from you, first on a plush and then on themselves. If they are younger, ask them to brush the plushie’s teeth, to make it happy! This type of pretend game produces some truly amazing results.
Let Them Pick Their Toothbrush
When you notice that bristles on your kid’s toothbrush are fray, shop for a replacement toothbrush together. There’s absolutely no reason to leave your kid out of this activity, especially when it offers so much room for additional bonding! You can even consider getting an electric toothbrush for your child in case they respond well to various sensations like buzzing sounds or the appearance of the gadget, or if you think it could complement their still underdeveloped manual dexterity.
Perhaps they would be thrilled to have a toothbrush containing their favorite cartoon character or would like to have a 100% personalized toothbrush. Either way, they will be more willing to brush if you allow them to pick their dental care supplies themselves.
What helped you most to teach your little one good dental hygiene? Did we forget to mention it above? Don’t hesitate to share your success story in the comments below!