5 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth
How often does your child do what you ask of them? If you’re like most parents, then your answer is probably sometimes. But when it comes to taking care of teeth, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to cultivate this habit; it will result in painful cavities and dental work. Many parents want their children to brush their teeth, but how can you motivate them? Here are a few tips that will encourage your child to pick up their toothbrush more often:
1) Brush together.
You may notice that your child likes to copy what you do, from the things you say to the way you wear your hair. If they witness you brushing your teeth, they’re more likely to mimic your habit. Be a good role model to get your child interested in brushing their teeth. Tell your child that they’ll be brushing together with you each morning and night; it will create a special parent-child time that they will start to look forward to. If this isn’t enough, add a special element to this routine: play their favorite song or start dancing while you brush!
2) Take them to the dentist.
As a parent, you know best that your child doesn’t always listen to you. Perhaps they’ll be more willing to listen to the dentist that cleans their teeth. Prepare your child for their dental visit by telling them what to expect and addressing any concerns they may have. If your child is struggling to take care of their teeth regularly, mention it to their dentist. A dental professional can educate your child about the consequences of tooth decay.
3) Let them choose their toothbrush and toothpaste.
A plain brush won’t do much to get your child excited about oral care. The next time you take them to the grocery store, let them browse the dental aisle and select their own toothbrush. Many children’s brushes are designed after popular cartoon characters that your kid is sure to enjoy. You can even let them choose the flavor of their toothpaste—just make sure that it’s ADA-approved. Toothpastes with strong mint flavors may be overwhelming for your child and make them more reluctant to take care of their pearly whites. Milder flavors like bubble-gum or vanilla are more kid-friendly. Finally, let them select their floss. There may not be any fun floss to pick, but the act of letting your child choose their own will make them more likely to use it.
4) Tell them about the tooth fairy.
Many children may be afraid of losing their teeth. Help alleviate this anxiety by telling your child about the tooth fairy, who takes their lost baby teeth and leaves money behind. You can share some tooth fairy tips, like how the fairies pay more money for teeth without cavities! This fun game can motivate your child to take better care of their teeth. When telling them about the tooth fairy, make sure to include a word of warning: the tooth fairy only pays for baby teeth! If your child loses permanent teeth, there won’t be anything under their pillow. Baby teeth are meant to fall out, but the adult ones are supposed to stay in for life—the best way to keep them is by brushing them regularly.
5) Reward them for consistent brushing habits.
You know that dollhouse your kid keeps nagging you to buy? Tell them that if they improve their brushing habits, they’ll earn that new toy they keep asking for. But don’t give it away easily; track their brushing habits so that you know your kid is doing what they say. Make a tooth calendar and cross off each day that your child brushes in the morning and the evening. Your child might find it satisfying to count all the days that they’ve taken good care of their teeth. After two months of regular brushing, reward your child with that long-awaited toy. Try to stick to non-edible rewards—giving them candy can undo all their hard work!
Hopefully, these tips will help your child reach for their toothbrush more eagerly and more often. Getting them to develop healthy habits is not necessarily an easy task. But by brushing their teeth twice a day, your kid will set up a consistent oral health routine that will protect their teeth well into adulthood.