Kids often don’t like to brush their teeth because it may be uncomfortable for them, or they may have not been taught how to enjoy brushing their teeth. Here are 5 ways to help kids enjoy brushing.
- Start a routine and stick to it. This will help your kids get used to the activity and will instead accept it as a part of the waking or sleeping routine instead of instinctively fighting it if it is only enforced on occasions.
- Offer a reward. The reward is entirely up to you, but for the first little while of getting your kiddo to enjoy brushing, it’s important to offer them a reward that makes them excited to brush and helps them associate brushing with another feel good thing.
- Give praise. Offering verbal positive reinforcement is a great way to make your kid feel good about brushing. “Wow, you are getting every tooth so thoroughly!” Or, “My goodness, those are clean looking teeth, great job!” can go a long way in giving your child motivation to brush regularly.
- Include a story time. If your child is young enough that you help them brush, pretending you are exploring their mouth like an undiscovered cave with rare gems and jewels (their pearly whites) is a great way to get them engaged in the process. If they are old enough to brush on their own, a story that incorporates brushing terms or fun teeth-related characters is another option to get them excited about brushing time!
- Do it together. If you can make a routine to brush your teeth together as a family then you can role model good oral hygiene for your kiddos who are much more likely to follow suit.
One misconception regarding oral health is that kids don’t need to care for their teeth in the same way because their teeth are “baby teeth” and will eventually fall out. This is, however, a myth. Children’s teeth are just as important as adult teeth and need the same amount of care to stay clean and healthy. Even though it is true that yes, children’s teeth will fall out in time, those are the only teeth that they have for years, so they absolutely should be protected in order to prevent painful infections that cause worse problems, painful cavities that make eating uncomfortable, or the dreaded bad breath from bacterial overgrowth.
If you have questions or concerns about your child brushing their teeth, contact Gentle Dentistry and we can help you feel confident about your child’s oral health!