5 Fun Ways To Teach Your Kid To Brush Their Teeth
Although it is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and teens aged 6 to 19, tooth decay can be prevented. Proper dental care is essential for achieving good dental health, so early toothbrush training should be a priority. While some parents find it challenging to get their kids to brush their teeth, experts are quick to point out that there are fun and easy things you can do to teach your kids proper dental hygiene.
Dental care for kids should start when the child is only several days old. It’s simple: find a clean and soft washcloth or wet gauze and use it to wipe your baby’s gums gently. Once his teeth start to come out, you have to switch to using a small, soft-bristled kid’s toothbrush. Brush your child’s teeth until you are sure he can brush on his own, but with your supervision, of course.
Five Tips for Fun Toothbrush Training
As mentioned earlier, you can make brushing and the complete dental care experience fun for your child (and for you, as well). Here are five creative ways you might want to consider.
1.Let your child pick his toothbrush and toothpaste.
Bring your child to the supermarket so he can pick out his toothbrush. Give him the freedom to choose the design and color he wants. Some popular designs include cartoon characters, superheroes, and toothbrushes that blink. Just be sure to supervise your child to make sure that he picks an age-appropriate toothbrush.
If you can, ask him to pick out two or more toothbrushes, and he can choose which design to use on a particular day.
Kids’ toothpaste comes in different flavors and varieties, so allow your child to pick what he wants.
2. Watch toothbrush videos for kids on YouTube
Look for fun and creative toothbrush or brushing videos for kids on YouTube or any other video service. Choose videos that show kids brushing their teeth. Watch these videos together with your child, so you can answer whatever questions he’ll have. Children also like it when their parents join them in their games and activities.
After watching the videos, have a simple conversation with your child and ask him what he learned. Encourage him to ask questions, as well.
Watching brushing videos is a good and effective way of helping your child learn and understand the importance of regularly brushing the teeth.
3. Teach your child how to brush using role-playing activities.
You will never go wrong with role-playing, even when the subject is something as simple as brushing the teeth.
Find a stuffed toy or doll that comes with its own toothbrush set. If you cannot find one, use whatever stuffed toy or doll is available, and find an old toothbrush. Show your child how to brush the teeth by brushing your own and then asking him to practice using the stuffed toy or doll. Let him role-play as a dentist tending to a patient whose teeth are filled with cavities because of not brushing.
To help your child better understand what cavities are, explain what they are by drawing. You can also do what some parents do – tell your child that cavities are like monsters inside his mouth. If he does not brush his teeth regularly, the monsters will take away all his teeth.
Another option is to create a story with your child’s favorite character as the main protagonist. A good example would be to use Ironman or Captain America, or whoever his favorite superhero is, as the central character of a story about a good guy who brushes away all the monsters inside a little boy’s mouth.
A little fun and creativity will help make brushing teeth exciting and interesting.
4. Play or sing toothbrush songs
Ideally, children should brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day. This can be a little tiring for some kids, but you can always set an activity that can turn the 2-minute brushing time fun. For example, you can play a video or sing one of your child’s favorite songs. Just make sure to choose one that lasts for two minutes.
There are also teeth brushing apps that you can download for free. Choose any of the animated brushing songs in the app and play it while your child brushes his teeth. These songs are two minutes long, and if your child finishes brushing at the end of the song, the app will send a reward.
5. Make a tooth brushing chart and reward your child for every achievement.
Children like receiving incentives for the things that they do, so creating a tooth brushing chart is a good idea. You can download free-to-use sheets online, or you can choose to make your own.
Come up with a weekly reward system. For example, if your child brushes his teeth twice a day for two minutes from Monday to Sunday, give him a new toy. If he does this for two consecutive weeks, reward him with a trip to the ice cream shop. Simple things like this will help your child realize the value of regular tooth brushing.
Aside from the fun suggestions mentioned above, there is one vital thing you should always keep in mind. As a parent, you should lead by example. Children like to imitate adults, especially their parents. So, whatever you do, your child will follow. Show your child how you take care of your oral health by brushing with him every day.
About the Author
Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle is the lead cosmetic dentist with Dental Studio 101 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is focused on providing anxiety-free cosmetic dentistry services including invisalign, dental implants, dental crowns and cosmetic fillings. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her friends and family.