How To Encourage Your Child To Brush Their Teeth

Does the sight of a toothbrush send your little one running in the opposite direction? Teaching a youngster good dental hygiene can be a demanding and sometimes frustrating process when you first start, but it is one of those necessary tasks that must be endured. Tooth decay remains one of the most chronic diseases among children according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are some ways you can make your experience with your child a little bit easier!

Start early!

It is recommended that during your child’s infancy you wipe down their gums with a damp and soft cloth. Once your child’s teeth begin growing in, we recommend switching to a soft toothbrush! As your child grows new teeth don’t forget to schedule a dentist appointment by their first year and ask your dentist about the health of your child’s mouth.

Lead by example

When our children are young, they learn by watching and they’re watching us! Don’t tell your child to brush their teeth, do it with them, and make it fun. If your child sees you brushing and/or flossing they will also want to join in on the adventure. Make it a bonding experience and get creative with music and games!

Turn it all into a game

As children get older and want some autonomy, telling them to go brush their teeth can be difficult, so turn it into a game. Make teeth brushing a must while commercials are playing during a movie or show, set a timer or play music and have them be finished by the time it ends, play their favorite song, sometimes offer rewards. These suggestions won’t be necessary forever so make it fun while the child is young.

Choose the right stuff

It is important to know that your child does not have the same dexterity as you, therefore, when choosing their toothbrush make it one they can properly hold. Your toothpaste may be too harsh and cause a burning sensation children’s mouths just aren’t ready for. Buy age-appropriate toothbrushes and toothpaste-like their favorite movie characters or their favorite color! You can check with your dentist about the best toothpaste for your child’s individual needs.

Independence is BIG

Autonomy begins to emerge, or the need for it, soon into your child’s life. Typically starting around the age of 4 (or earlier for some) children want to do things on their own and they want to be “adult-like.” What better way to encourage independence than by allowing your child to enter the bathroom and take care of themselves on their own! Encourage, praise it, and love on them when they complete the task thoroughly.