We often visit local schools or invite elementary school classes into the office here at Susquehanna Dental Arts to get them interested in their own oral health. We understand the difficulties in getting kids to brush or take care of their teeth and have learned a few tricks over the years that we thought we’d share with you.
If you or someone you know struggles with getting their children to brush their teeth consistently, we encourage you to try some of the creative methods listed below. Everyone is different, so by trying different methods or even combining several you may find the perfect mix to keep your kid on the right track with their brushing habits.
- Create a Competition – If you have multiple children try creating a game out of brushing. Some favorites include “who can brush longer?” or “who can create the most bubbles?” If they’re the only child you can challenge them instead.
- Get Fun Toothbrushes, Flosses, and Toothpastes – There are plenty of options out there and it may be as simple as finding their favorite character or flavor. You can also try mixing some xylitol gels with the toothpaste to add a slightly sweeter flavor to the toothpaste.
- Show Them the Problem – A dissolving agent that colors the plaque can prove to them that brushing makes a difference in their oral hygiene.
- Sing a Song or Tell a Story – Kids typically love singing or listening to songs, so why not sing while they brush? Pick something that covers the recommended 2 minutes and you’ll be all set. If singing doesn’t work try creating a story about plaque monsters, sugar bugs, or any other creative creature you can come up with. Tell them you need their help in fighting against these invaders.
- Race Against the Clock – See if they can outlast the 2 minute countdown clock.
- Reward the Behavior – There are several ways you can go about this. Praise them, give them stars or stickers on a chart each day they brush, or offer some kind of reward if they can go a whole month without brushing troubles.
- Play a Video or App – Believe it or not there are dozens of tooth brushing videos or apps on your phone or tablet you can play while they brush.
- Brush with Them – Kids like to follow the example set by their parents. Show them how much you love to brush and they’ll want to be just like you.
- Make it a Routine – We recommend brushing at least once in the morning and once every night. If you get them into a routine it will develop into a habit that the child doesn’t even think twice about. This habit will then continue to pay dividends for the rest of their lives.
We hope this list will help you get your child actively engaged in their own oral care. If a kid can get excited about brushing their teeth they’ll have developed a habit that will lead to a healthy mouth and smile they can enjoy the rest of their lives.