Getting your kids to brush every day can be a struggle — especially when they’re young. But it’s worth it because starting off on the right foot is so important to not just their future dental health but their health overall. Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases among children ages 6-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it’s largely preventable.
Start them young, raise them right definitely applies to oral hygiene. But you don’t need to become an ogre to enforce the rules. Here are a few tricks to make brushing fun for kids.
Teach by Doing
One of the most important things you can do is teach by example. Show them how to brush by doing it yourself. Be sure to do it with them — not later before your own bedtime. This will demonstrate important brushing techniques. More importantly, it will teach kids to prioritize it.
Make Brushing Fun
Rather than being something they “have to do or else,” turn tooth brushing into a game. Play a favorite song that’s 2 minutes in duration and have each kid improvise their toothbrush dance. You could also set a timer, perhaps on your phone, that has a sound kids love like ringing bells or the sound of a favorite cartoon character.
If your kids watch TV before bed, hold a brushing marathon during a commercial break. Each 30 second commercial should be focused on a different quadrant of their mouth.
In this world, you’ve got to pay to play. And let’s be honest moms and dads — a little bribery goes a long way. Promise an extra 10 minutes of bedtime when they brush. Let them pick the movie or TV show to watch that night. Treat the family to Popsicles if everybody brushes their teeth for the week.
Make Toothbrushes Fun
One of the best ways to encourage brushing is to get a fun toothbrush. Let them pick it out — perhaps one with their favorite cartoon character. And since dentists recommend a new brush every 3 months, it’s a good idea to keep it fresh