If only our children understood the importance of their teeth and brushing properly the way we do — if they did, they’d surely do a better job without us needing to nag them about it! But the good news is that whether or not they’re old enough to fully appreciate how important it is to brush properly, you can use a few tricks to get them to do a good job anyway.
Model good brushing techniques
Rather than wait until after your kids are in bed to brush your own teeth, take care of this nightly task at the same time you’re asking your children to do it. This allows you to gently lead by example.
Supervise your children when they brush their teeth
If your children know you’ll be watching, and that you won’t ever let them get away with doing a sloppy job, they’ll eventually learn that there’s no point in cutting corners since you’ll catch them every time. They’ll be more likely to make doing a thorough job of brushing a habit if you make it clear that this is your expectation, and enforce the rules.
Brushes that teach how long to brush make learning fun
The next time you’re taking a stroll through the dental aisle at your local store, take a closer look and see if you can get your hands on kids toothbrushes that light up at the press of a button, and continue to blink or otherwise entertain via a “light show” until your child has brushed for long enough.
A fun alternative to the light-up brushes are the ones that play music for the duration of the brushing time. Others simply play a chime to indicate the time is up.
Set a timer that will make a funny sound when brushing time is up
You can either buy a timer that does this, or use your smartphone with its plethora of quirky alarm sounds to choose from. Set the timer for one minute and tell your child to brush their top teeth and that they can stop when the timer sounds. Repeat the process for the bottom teeth.
Brushes with fun illustrations can grab your child’s interest
Every child is different, but some are much more likely to do a good job of brushing their teeth if they have a brush that they love to look at and hold. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to buy a toothbrush like this either, especially if you watch your local flyers for big sales in the dental aisle. (Bonus tip: stock up when these go on sale!)
Choose a fun, flavoured toothpaste that your child will love
Many kids find the minty taste of traditional toothpaste to be too strong. Luckily, this is one battle you don’t have to fight. Nowadays toothpastes are available for kids in fun flavours such as bubblegum or fruity options that kids love.
Consistency is key to teaching your child to brush properly
Using these tips and tricks will go a long way towards helping your child see the fun and benefits of using good toothbrushing techniques. Use one, or all of them, depending on what it takes — every child is different, after all. Finally, remember that it takes time and consistency — change doesn’t usually happen overnight, and often takes days or weeks of consistent effort to get the end result you want.
At Reflections Dental, we talk regularly about the importance of brushing properly – especially about children brushing. Want to learn more or visit one of our Oakville, Ontario dentists? We’re passionate about your oral care as part of your overall health!