Many children see brushing their teeth as a chore and they want to avoid it at all costs. If you let it, tooth brushing can easily become a power struggle between parent and child. Statistics show that 75% of children are not brushing their teeth regularly or correctly. It is important not to give up on the tooth brushing routine! Poor oral hygiene at a young age can lead to many dental problems in the future. If you are having a hard time getting your children to brush, below are five tips to help you make tooth brushing more fun.
Brush Your Teeth Together
Children learn best by example. Brush your teeth together to show them that you too brush your teeth. You can take turns making silly faces and singing into the toothbrush microphone. Your participation can make tooth brushing less of a chore and something fun that you do together. It also allows you to spend valuable time with your children right before they go to bed.
Turn It Into a Game
Spark your child’s imagination to make toothbrushing more exciting. Give them a cape and turn them into the “Caped Cavity Crusader” to abolish the evil Cavity Man from Tooth Town. If you are brushing your children’s teeth for them, let them brush a stuffed animal’s teeth too. You can even “chase” imaginary tooth elves around their mouth, having them open wide so you can catch them. There are many ways to turn tooth brushing into a game, just be careful not to turn it into a race.
Use a Tooth Brushing App
There are many apps that can help with tooth brushing. “Brush DJ” plays two minutes of music to brush along to. “Star Teeth” provides a character that encourages kids to brush their teeth. “Toothsavers” turns your child into a hero that saves characters in a fairy-tale kingdom from the cavity sorceress.
Let Them Participate
Whenever possible, let your kids participate in the tooth brushing process. Let them squeeze the toothpaste onto their toothbrush, or wet the brush with water. If they are old enough, let them brush their own teeth. You can always take turns brushing teeth, let them brush their own teeth for 30 seconds, then you take a turn, and you switch off until the teeth are clean.
Reward Your Children
We often reward ourselves for doing hard things. If your child is struggling to consistently brush their teeth, create a reward system that will encourage them to be. Make a sticker chart, and after they get a certain amount of stickers, they get a prize, such as a new toy, a special treat, or a visit to some place fun. Work with your children to select the rewards so that they are more willing to participate.