Getting your kids to brush their teeth regularly might feel like pulling teeth… And that very well might be the result if you can’t help create that habit early! But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process, it might even be as easy as finding a few tricks to help encourage the kids to hop up to the sink and get their toothbrush ready for them.
Top tips to help create the tooth-brushing habit
The easiest way to instill a good mouth health habit is to start instilling the process early in their lives. Teaching kids from a young age that brushing their teeth is something that happens every day (twice a day!) makes it easier for them to continue the process as they get older.
The best time to start an oral care routine is before your child’s first teeth even arrive so that they are well into the habit of daily brushing by the time those teeth start appearing. Scheduling their first check up for around their first birthday can help them get used to seeing the dentist and showing off their clean teeth, too.
Lead the way
It’s no secret that kids tend to copy what they see you do, so help them adopt a good oral health routine by showing them that you have one, too. Having them join you every morning and evening in your routine will help reinforce the good habits you are telling them they should have.
Let them pick their toothbrush
Taking kids to the store to pick out their own toothbrush and flavour of toothpaste can help turn a chore into a fun activity they look forward to. Many kids’ toothbrushes and pastes feature a variety of fun characters, colours and styles, so offering kids a choice can encourage them to enjoy this new habit.
Make it fun
Making tooth brushing fun can help kids to look forward to doing it each morning and night. Anything that can turn 2 minutes of brushing into a fun game is worth trying. You can even switch it up nightly to offer some variety! Whether you set a timer and have a 2-minute dance party or tell a story while brushing, you can make the daily habit fun for all.
Add more power
It may feel like you’re not setting your kids up to know how to brush their teeth when you give them a powered toothbrush, but doing so can actually help them maintain good mouth health. A powered toothbrush can not only make brushing fun, it can also help kids get deep into the spaces between their teeth and into their gums which can help get plaque off better than a regular toothbrush.
Create a routine
Starting when kids are young, build teeth brushing into their daily routine. If they learn early that brushing their teeth happens every morning and night at the same time and place in the routine, it becomes more of a habit and less of a chore.
Offer a reward
While bribing kids to do what you want might feel like a super unhealthy precedence, offering a reward for remembering to brush and floss can help encourage kids to get in the habit of doing it each day. Try using a reward chart with stickers, and give a prize like choosing an extra book at bedtime or picking out a new toothbrush. Maybe even just offering an excited high five and some showing off of their bright white teeth is enough!
Positive brushing habits start now
How ever you choose to motivate your child, helping reinforce the good benefits of a healthy mouth health routine is something that will create lasting habits for them. Along with the healthy habits you create at home, visiting your dentist for regular check ups is also a big part of a healthy oral care routine. Your family dentist can help talk to kids about their brushing habits and stay on top of any possible parts they are missing.