There are some activities in everyday life that adults will do because they understand the benefits but children will often refuse; eating vegetables, bathing, and brushing teeth are probably the top three. Like any activity that seems like a chore, teaching your kids to properly care for their teeth with enthusiasm will take time and patience. Here are some simple tips to get your kids to brush their teeth:
Even infants can have their gums gently cleaned with a clean, soft cloth after nursing. Eventually it becomes an expected part of the eating routine. Even if you weren’t able to start before the first tooth erupted, it is never too late. The sooner you can get them into the habit of daily brushing, the better.
Show them your moves
Make tooth brushing a group activity. Show them what your brush looks like and how you brush your teeth. Have fun and be a little silly. Tell them how good it feels when your teeth are all nice and clean and how it makes your mouth smell nice all day.
A child who is allowed to select their own toothbrush and toothpaste feels more excited to try them out. Remember that many adult toothpastes have a flavor that is too strong for little palates, so shop for a children’s toothpaste together.
Make it a game
Tell the child a story that piques their interest. For example, make up a story about how your teeth are being attacked by evil sugar-monsters and the superhero toothbrush with his trusty sidekick toothpaste can destroy the sugar-monsters. Make the narrative fun and exciting, then ask the child to tell you about their superhero toothbrush.
Encourage and praise their efforts
Children can begin brushing on their own around the age of two but still need to be supervised by an adult. Praise their efforts and the beauty of their teeth when they do brush on their own.
Make it a habit
Most families have set times for meals, naps, and bed. Build on those routines by making sure oral care is a part of them every day. Before taking a nap and before going to bed are ideal times to make toothbrushing a habit.
See your dentist
Encourage them to show off how hard they have been working on their toothbrushing skills to the dentist at every six-month appointment. If your child is still resistant to good brushing habits, ask you dentist to have a simple and frank discussion about oral health.
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