Parent’s Edition: Effective Ways to Encourage Your Child to Brush Their Teeth
24 June 2022
“No! I don’t want to!”
Parents of toddlers and young ones are all too familiar with such (or similar) moments in parenthood.
You might let it pass if the situation has no urgency. However, important daily tasks such as teeth brushing can become stressful if your child does not adhere to their oral care routine.
Just like every other milestone during parenthood, there are good and challenging days. While it’s important to cultivate good oral care habits, it’s also important not to get stressed over it. Ultimately, the focus should be on teaching your child how to practice good oral care habits through fun and effective ways that will make them look forward to brushing their teeth.
When it comes to trying to get your child to brush his or her teeth, give some of these fun methods a try!
#1 Routines are not boring
As adults, a variety of possible feelings can stir up when you are facing something new. You might feel excited, skeptical, or scared to name a few. These feelings are natural and children feel them when facing something new too.
So, if your child is not keen on brushing their teeth daily, there may be multiple reasons and one of them could be because it’s something unfamiliar. If this is the case, make teeth brushing a routine and it can help. At first, your child might not be cooperative but perseverance pays off.
Continue to include teeth brushing into your child’s daily routine and one day, he or she will get the hang of it.
#2 Purple or yellow? Strawberry or mint?
Instead of simply handing the toothbrush over to your child when it’s time to brush their teeth, get them involved in the decision-making process of looking after their dental health.
For example, instead of “Here you go, please brush your teeth”, you may try, “Which toothbrush would you prefer to use when you’re brushing your teeth?”
That’s right, have your child pick the colour of their toothbrush and their preferred toothpaste flavour. Getting them involved in this process can motivate them to brush their teeth. Plus, it also teaches them independence and helps them to build confidence!
#3 Family fun time
It’s always fun when things are done in a group and even more so, with the ones you love!
Make teeth brushing a family affair by brushing your teeth together. Children emulate their parents and when they see that you’re brushing your teeth, they’ll follow suit. Brushing your teeth together may also make it easier for you to have your child brush according to the right timing as your child will most likely go along and stop brushing only when you stop.
#4 Sing a song
From clearing toys up to brushing teeth, songs make every activity fun, even those that seem rather uninteresting. When your child feels that brushing their teeth is not the most fun affair, incorporating songs can definitely lighten the situation and turn things up a notch!
You may sing a song, create tunes, or even hum, the choices are endless. Another benefit to singing tunes is that you can choose a song that lasts for 2 minutes while brushing teeth and the best part is, time flies when you’re having fun!
#5 Teddy loves it too!
Toys help a child develop important skills such as problem-solving and role-playing that will be useful for them as they grow.
You may include their favourite toys in role-playing scenarios such as brushing their teeth to show that your child’s toys enjoy brushing their teeth too. During this time, you may use phrases such as “Brushing teddy’s teeth gives him a beautiful smile” or “Teddy enjoys brushing his teeth because it keeps them clean and healthy”.
Explaining to your child the benefits of teeth brushing while role-playing with his or her toys will also help your child understand why teeth brushing is an important habit.
#6 Rewards are the best
Sometimes a little reward will help your child look forward to brushing their teeth. If your child needs some incentive, perhaps a reward system can help you with your struggles.
One relatively easy way to get started is to create a reward chart. You may get your child to place a sticker on the chart each time he/she brushes his/her teeth, or perhaps have a little prize to give when your child brushes his/her teeth for all the days in a month.
This can make your child cooperate, as brushing teeth now feels more fun with a reward at the end of the task.
#7 Some positivity can go a long way
When your child does not cooperate, you might guilt-trip him or her to cultivate the teeth brushing habit but this will not create a positive outcome in the long run.
Instead, focus on helping your child create a positive relationship with their oral care routine. This will require patience but its long-term results will make your efforts worthwhile.
You can start by telling your child why taking care of their oral health is important. Younger children can understand oral decay too and once they are aware of it, they will want to prevent it. If your children are older, you may go in-depth on the topic by teaching your child about health conditions affected by poor oral health such as heart diseases and diabetes.
#8 Show videos on how to brush their teeth
There is no denying that screen time will catch a child’s attention but it is usually limited to ensure that children lead a balanced lifestyle. When it comes to screen time, why not make the best out of it by showing your child videos on how to brush their teeth?
i.Dental has created an educational video that teaches your child to brush and floss their teeth. The video also addresses some frequently asked questions to help parents understand their child’s dental health better.
You can bring this video into the bathroom and have your child brush along as the video goes. For some added support, you can join in too!
On top of teeth brushing, regular dental visits to the dentist can also help to cultivate good oral care habits within your child. Your child will be able to learn from his or her dentists on how to take care of their teeth and also understand the issues that might develop if they don’t. Book an appointment with i.Dental today.