Passing on good oral hygiene practices to your children is one of the most important ways to ensure they live a healthy and happy life. However, getting your kids to brush their teeth can quickly become an epic battle of wills. Because daily brushing is so important to overall health and wellness, it is crucial to establish this habit early on in your child’s life.
In this post, we will be sharing 10 easy ways to get your kids to brush their teeth. From simply setting a good example for your child to creating a game out of daily brushing, we hope these ideas provide you with helpful inspiration.
By implementing one or several of these methods, your child will quickly establish a healthy tooth brushing routine that will follow them into adulthood. Not only will this reduce the bedtime arguments, but it will also play a large role in preventing tooth decay.
Why Is Brushing Your Kids Teeth Important?
We encounter many parents on a regular basis who do not understand the importance of brushing their children’s teeth. Toothbrushing is incredibly important at any age. When you brush your teeth, you are removing the bacteria and plaque that are responsible for causing both tooth decay and gum disease.
Although your child will lose their baby teeth as they mature, it is still important to take care of them. Not only does establishing oral hygiene habits at an early age solidify this necessary routine, but it also provides a better foundation for your child’s adult teeth. Baby teeth play a large role in helping your child learn to talk and form sounds.
In addition to this important function, baby teeth also act as place holders for their permanent teeth, guiding them into the correct position. Because of these important roles, proper care for baby teeth is crucial to providing your child with the best oral health as they continue to mature. Below you will find a few easy methods that we have found successful in getting your children to brush their teeth.
Set a Good Example for Oral Hygiene
One of the most important things you can do as you establish your child’s oral hygiene routine is to set a good example. Oftentimes, parents will try to enforce daily brushing without leading by example. The best way to accomplish this is by making brushing a family event. Set aside a few minutes each day to brush your teeth alongside your child.
In addition to brushing with your child, it is important that your child sees you flossing your teeth. Children naturally replicate what they see. Oral hygiene is one of the most important areas that you can display proper techniques and habits.
Establish a Brushing Routine Early in Life
As a Tulsa pediatric dentist, we believe that no age is too early for establishing a tooth brushing routine. Even infants can benefit from simple oral hygiene tasks. Before your child has their first tooth, you can begin to introduce oral hygiene by cleaning their gums with a soft cloth.
As soon as they begin to develop teeth around six months of age, you can begin to brush their teeth using an age-appropriate toothbrush. Flossing is not necessary or recommended until your child has more teeth. It is usually best to introduce flossing once your child is between two and three years old.
Another crucial part of establishing an oral hygiene routine is to introduce your child to the dentist at an early age. We recommend bringing your child for their first appointment around their first birthday. They may not have many teeth, however, this is still an important milestone.
By introducing your child to their dentist at an early age, you can begin to establish an important relationship built on trust and familiarity. Additionally, it is an excellent opportunity to observe the health and development of your child’s teeth and gums.
Use an Age-Appropriate Toothbrush
As mentioned above, it is important to use an age-appropriate toothbrush. Most toothbrushes that are available for purchase include a recommended age on the packaging. A few of the qualities that make a toothbrush appropriate for the age of your child is the size of the toothbrush head, the density of the brush, and even the design of the toothbrush handle.
Choosing the right tools will make oral hygiene more enjoyable and comfortable for your child. If you are not sure if a toothbrush is appropriate for your child’s age, feel free to ask for advice during your next Tulsa kids dentist appointment.
Turn Brushing Into a Fun Game
Brushing your teeth doesn’t have to be a chore! Turning brushing into a fun game can make it easier to establish a habit in young children. Some popular brushing games include chasing the “sugar babies”, or brushing between a commercial break during their favorite show. Some of the Tulsa pediatric dentist patients even create a brushing game to play with their parents during brushing!
Read a Story While Brushing
One easy way to pass the time while brushing is to read a story to your child. There are many books available that were written specifically for this purpose! Reading a short story will help to pass the time in a way that is enjoyable for your child. You can also pass the time by making up a story each night that is based around tooth brushing.
Make Oral Hygiene Part of a Daily Routine
It’s important to establish toothbrushing twice each day as part of your child’s routine. By brushing your teeth at the same time each day, you fall into a pattern that is easy to follow.
Experts recommend brushing once in the morning, shortly after waking up to remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulates during the night. It is also important to brush your teeth before heading to bed each night. Nighttime toothbrushing is crucial for removing food and other debris that remains in your teeth at the end of the day. Failing to remove this debris before sleeping will lead to a greater possibility of developing cavities and decay.
The easiest way to make oral hygiene a part of your child’s daily routine is to associate toothbrushing with another common task. For instance, they could brush their teeth immediately after getting dressed for the day. At nighttime, it is typical to associate toothbrushing with changing into pajamas. Associating oral hygiene with these common tasks will make it easier to incorporate into your daily schedule.
Create a Sticker Chart
We have found that many of our young patients thrive when there is an incentive. Create a simple sticker chart with your child and allow them to place a sticker after each time they brush their teeth. This practice is wonderful for children that are hesitant to brush or that need additional encouragement. In some cases, it may be helpful to offer a small prize once the sticker chart is complete as an additional incentive!
Use a Toothbrushing App
In today’s age of technology, there seems to be an app for everything, even brushing your teeth! There are several apps available for children of all ages to incentivize toothbrushing. These apps all provide a built-in timer as well as some form of entertainment to ensure your child is brushing for two minutes each time.
Allow Them to Select Their Toothbrush
One fun way to get your kids to brush their teeth is to allow them to select their toothbrushes. Between manual and electric toothbrushes, there are many options on the market. By allowing your child to use a toothbrush they are excited about, you can make toothbrushing a more exciting event for everyone involved!
If your child has a tough time brushing their teeth, it may be helpful to try different flavors of toothpaste. Children have varying tastes and allowing them to use a toothpaste they enjoy can encourage them to brush more consistently.
Play a Song Instead of a Timer
Although using a timer while you brush is an effective way to ensure you are brushing for two minutes, time can seem to drag on. Finding a song to listen to while brushing can help the time fly by! Since most songs are longer than two minutes, this is an easy way to keep an eye on the time while enjoying yourself.
As a pediatric dentist in Tulsa, we firmly believe in the importance of establishing oral hygiene habits. Unfortunately, tooth decay is increasingly common in children of all ages. Proper brushing is one of the best ways to prevent decay and promote the overall wellness of your child.
If you have further questions or need advice on proper brushing techniques for your child, please contact our Tulsa kids dentist team!
Thank you for reading! Learn more about modern dental hygiene here.
This post was sponsored by Children’s Dental Health Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They specialize in providing exceptional pediatric dentist services in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. Learn more by visiting their Tulsa Kid’s Dentist website here.