How Can I Get My Kids to Brush Their Teeth?
We’ve got bad news for you. There is not one foolproof way to get your kids to brush their teeth. We do have some good tips and information about it that could help you establish your kids in a healthy oral hygiene routine.
Obviously, you know your child better than we do. Some children comply better with the prospect of rewards, and others comply better with the prospect of punishment. One thing applies to every one of you: You are the parent, and your child is the child. You are the one who has to take charge of the situation. Otherwise, you could encounter some really bad news at your child’s next dental visit.
The most important advice we can give is to start the brushing habit as soon as your child has teeth. This is early! As early as six months of age. The biggest advantage to this is establishing a routine that is comfortable for your child. When you do it before they are old enough to fight or question you, it makes it much less likely for them to fight or question you when they are old enough!
Another advantage of this is that their small size enables you to perform the necessary tasks without feeling as if you are wrestling an alligator!
Make this a nightly routine. This proves to your child how important it is to both you and the child. When you skip a night, not only does it make the child wonder, “Hmm, I guess it really isn’t that important.” It also makes it so much easier to skip the next night . . . and the next . . . and the next.
Even when your child is old enough to brush his own teeth (which is usually never earlier than six years!), you still need to consistently check to see how thoroughly he is brushing. Post-brushing inspections are encouraged.
Discuss and Show Consequences.
Does your child understand why brushing his teeth is so important? Maybe he doesn’t, and maybe that’s why he doesn’t think it’s a big deal to skip. This may sound a little gross, but try showing photos of cavities and gum disease. You can find some really yucky pictures on Google Images by searching “cavities”.
Explain that not brushing causes really stinky breath and some potentially scary and/or painful dental visits. It is a bit of a scare tactic, but that’s what works for some kids.
Set a Good Example.
This is where the rubber meets the road. You can’t teach your kids to do something that you aren’t doing. Make sure your children see you brushing your own teeth every single night. If you have a nice big master bathroom, make it a family activity. Play games and have contests. Play a song on your phone to dance along to while you all brush together.
If you put a high priority on your own oral hygiene, your kids will want to do the same.
Work with Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist.
Having a good relationship with your dentist and dental hygienist is helpful when working with your children on oral hygiene. They can offer tips on techniques, products to try, and even strategies of what has worked for other parents. We know that every child is different. The one thing that is the same for all children is that oral hygiene is important to their overall health.
More Questions about Your Child’s Oral Hygiene?
Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule an appointment for your child with Dr. Chowning or one of our wonderful dental hygienists. We can answer any question you have about taking care of your child’s teeth.