If your child is unwilling or uncooperative when it comes to brushing their teeth, the daily struggle can start to feel like an uphill battle, and you may be tempted to just give up. But before throwing in the towel (or, rather, the toothbrush), check out these tips for how to make brushing teeth fun for your kids.
Pick a Fun Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Let your child pick his or her own special toothbrush and toothpaste. Nowadays children’s toothbrushes come in just about any color, shape, or character they could ever want. Plus, child-sized electric toothbrushes make brushing teeth fun and can make your child feel more “grown up.” Plus, many also come with a feature that plays two minutes of a song, so that children are sure to brush for the recommended amount of time.
Tooth Brushing for Kids: There’s an App for That
These days, there is an app for just about anything, and tooth brushing is no exception. There are several great tooth brushing apps on the market that make oral health more fun for kids. The apps range in complexity and target age range, from simple teeth brushing timer apps to more complex apps involving multiple characters, games, and more.
Make Brushing Teeth a Group Activity
Let your child watch as you brush your own teeth or have a teeth brushing party for the whole family in the bathroom. Try letting your child brush your teeth in exchange for you brushing theirs.
Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal, doll, or action figure? Brush the toy’s teeth first, or tell your child that after they’ve brushed their teeth (or let you brush them), they can brush the toy’s teeth too.
Create a Fun Tooth Brushing Game
One of the easiest ways to make brushing teeth fun for your child is to make it into a game. Partner with your child to wage a teeth brushing war against the “sugar bugs” or the “cavity monsters.” Or try telling your child that you need to brush out all the different foods they’ve eaten that day. As you brush, pretend to notice cereal on a bottom tooth, carrot sticks by their back molars, and so on.
Sing a Tooth Brushing Song
With your toddler or younger child, try singing a tooth brushing song or counting down from a certain number. This adds an element of fun and silliness to the tooth brushing process. Plus, if you make this part of your daily routine, it gives your child a sense of schedule and consistency, in that they know exactly how long the activity will last.
Use a Tooth Brushing Chart to Incentivize
With older children, oftentimes getting them to brush their teeth requires you to get a little more creative. One way to do this is with a tooth brushing chart. Every time that your child brushes their teeth to your expectations (whether that is sitting still while you brush their teeth, brushing for the whole recommended two minutes, or brushing without any whining or complaints), give them a sticker to put on the chart. Once the teeth brushing chart is full, offer them a prize, such as a new book or toy, a trip to the zoo, or a special one-on-one “date night” with mom or dad. Just remember, high-sugar treats like candy and sweets are bad for teeth and growing bodies, so they shouldn’t be offered as rewards!
Try Different Techniques to Make Brushing Fun
If you’ve got an especially finicky tooth brusher on your hands, try using a combination of these techniques to make brushing teeth fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment to find the best solution for your family. But whatever you do, don’t give up – consistent and adequate teeth brushing is crucial to your child’s oral health. It will help build a strong foundation for overall health throughout the rest of their lives and it is so important that you give them the best start possible.