Parenting Tips – Teaching Your Child to Brush Their Teeth

Once the baby teeth make their appearance, you know it’s time to get your kids into the routine of brushing them regularly. Especially when your children hit school age, they need to make the time to use their brushes properly at least twice a day – in the morning and before bed, and also preferably after dinner. Some children, however, may find the task burdensome and unappealing. You may send a child into the bathroom to brush, but are they really getting the job done? There are ways, though, to make teeth brushing fun so your children get into the habit of good oral hygiene.

So, if you are frustrated that your children’s toothbrushes are dry every time you do a bathroom check, here are a few tips to consider to encourage them to polish their pearly whites.

1) Be mindful of the toothpaste you buy. Yes, there are a number of pastes on the market designed for young teeth, but they are not all the same. Ultimately whether or not your son or daughter brushes willingly is determined by taste. It may take buying one or two brands to get the right flavor your child enjoys. While they definitely won’t be eating it, they will have the taste of bubblegum, mint, or other flavors staying with them. Make sure the toothpaste you buy is one they will use.

2) Let your children choose their toothbrush. When kids are brought into a new experience with choices, they may be more inclined to participate. Handing your child a toothbrush is one way to instill the habit, but it may not be the correct way. When you go to the drugstore, have your child select his/her own brush and create a sense of personal pride in owning that brush. This may encourage greater use of it.

3) Reward your children. When you potty trained, you probably used a reward system to get your children to use the toilet. There’s no reason why this can’t work for teeth brushing. Set up a chart and record when your children follow through on their morning and nighttime routines, placing stickers or stars where applicable. At the end of a perfect week of brushing, you can offer a nice prize.

Getting your children to adopt proper oral care can seem like a challenge, but if you start them early and monitor their progress, you’ll soon find they will brush on their own and do it properly.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia Beach dentists and Virginia Beach dental care.