Getting your children to regularly brush their teeth two times per day for two minutes can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. Between tantrums and tears at home it can be difficult to teach the importance of good oral health to our youngest patients. Dr. Sears from Parenting.com offers a few tips to make brushing teeth more fun to encourage children of all ages to brush well, regularly.
Play Copycat. Children love to mimic fun activities around them. Have your toddler watch you brush your teeth, and exaggerate how enthusiastic you are about brushing your teeth. Keep your child’s toothbrush nearby so he can mimic the fun you’re having while brushing your teeth.
Turn the Toothbrush into a Toy. Show your child how to brush his teddy bear’s teeth or let him pretend to brush your teeth. Make him realize that toothbrushes can be fun to use.
Play Show and Tell. While you’re showing your child how fun brushing teeth can be, show him why he needs to brush daily. Explain that brushing helps remove sticky stuff from his teeth, and if he doesn’t brush the sugar bugs will eat the sticky stuff and his teeth. Show that brushing helps keep his teeth strong and white and helps get rid of the bad sticky stuff.
Use your Finger as a Brush. If you’re still struggling to get your child to brush, wrap some gauze on your finger and brush your toddler’s teeth with your finger. He may find this less threatening than a big, long toothbrush. Choose a toothpaste flavor that he likes, but only use a pea-size dab once a day if you use a fluoride toothpaste. Many children swallow toothpaste at a young age, and while the right amount of fluoride is helpful, too much can contribute to weakened enamel.
Eventually your child will catch on that brushing his teeth is fun and an important part of taking care of his body. Ask the Schumacher & Bauer, DDS team if you have any questions on how to encourage your children to brush their teeth regularly.
Source: Parenting.com, “Ask Dr. Sears: Toothbrushing Resistance,” by Dr. William Sears