Fun Ways to Motivate Your Children to Brush Their Teeth

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Getting your children to brush their teeth can be one of the most difficult habits to develop and may even be a little frustrating. We know that getting your children to brush their teeth is another chore that busy parents like you need to fit into an already packed bedtime schedule. Here are some tools that will help make that important oral health habit easier to establish.

1. Develop good oral hygiene routines early

Even before their teeth start erupting, you can ease them into the process by putting a washcloth on their gums. That way, they get used to the idea of feeling something in their mouth. Many companies make training toothbrush sets with either no bristles or soft rubber bristles to massage kids’ gums and get them used to the feel of brushing their teeth. Using a toothbrush early can be a great way to encourage this habit before they are old enough to fight it.

2. Sing the benefits of brushing

You may have missed the opportunity to start them early on this habit, or perhaps your children are not too happy about having a toothbrush in their mouth. Educating children on the importance of brushing their teeth can make a world of difference. Explain it in terms they can understand or with music. Create your own song and sing it while your little ones brush their teeth. This way, they will associate brushing with fun.

3. Pretend to brush the teeth of a doll or a teddy bear

There are many toys and dolls available that have their own toothbrush and have been designed to encourage children to do the same. If you do not have one of these toys, simply use whatever toys they already have and keep a spare toothbrush on hand to “brush” their teeth. When children see their favorite toy getting their teeth brushed, it will encourage them to do the same.

4. Lead by example

Children love to imitate others, so what better way to teach good habits than to model them? Brush your teeth with your kids twice a day, thus establishing a family routine so they can see that you are also doing the right thing. This can help them do it correctly by showing them how to brush those difficult-to-reach places.

5. Let them choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste.

Take them shopping and let them choose their own toothbrush, as long as it is age appropriate. They may find brushes featuring designs with their favorite characters. If they can choose their own toothbrush, they are much more likely to enjoy using it. Special toothpastes can also help, featuring bright colors or other fun designs aimed at children. You will often find that children’s toothpastes have a milder flavor than those made for adults. TIP: You can also find electric children’s toothbrushes, which are usually quite inexpensive and can help achieve a deep clean with less effort.

6. Use technology

Macleans has a great free phone app called Nurdle Time. The app lets you create profiles for up to 5 people. When it is time to brush your teeth, activate your profile. A cheerful song will play to start encouraging good toothbrushing habits. The songs will play for 2 minutes, which is the ideal brushing time. When it stops, either when the song ends or before, the app awards you star points. These points can be used to download free costume updates for the Nurdle character, so your children can dress him however they want.
ANOTHER METHOD: Another alternative is to synchronize alarms across your home devices. When the alarm goes off, the whole family knows it is time to brush their teeth. The best way to teach is by example.

7. Use a reward chart to encourage the routine

Sometimes it helps to give children a little incentive so they can accomplish their goals. A rewards chart can be just what the dentist ordered. You can create a basic chart or download one from the internet and decide how you want to reward their behavior. Starting with small goals usually helps. These can add up as the routine becomes more regular. You may decide that a full week of brushing in the morning and at night gives your child access to a special reward for their good behavior, like a trip to the park or free time to play with a toy.

We hope these tips and tricks can help you create a brushing routine for your children. Remember that Salus has pediatric dentists to help you care for their oral health from an early age.

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