Sometimes, children are reluctant to brush, and as a parent, you may be wondering how you can encourage your children to brush more often and more effectively. At Nia Pediatrics, we have put together a list of tips gathered from our pediatric dentists. Try these ideas.
When children are little, they want to do everything their parents do. To encourage toddlers and young children to brush, don’t have them brush on their own. Instead, make it a family affair. Twice a day, everyone should grab their toothbrushes and head to the bathroom. If your bathroom is too small for multiple brushers, you may want to move the party to the kitchen sink. Then, model good brushing behavior for your child, and don’t forget to floss and rinse.
Use “Peer” Pressure
As kids get a bit older, they are often more responsible to what their peers are doing than what their parents are doing. To give them a bit of positive “peer” pressure, have them watch videos of their favorite TV or book characters brushing their teeth, or find books about characters brushing their teeth or going to the dentist. As they become teens, the idea of keeping their teeth clean and their breath fresh for their school friends can be something that you might want to highlight.
Appeal to Their Love of Tech
When trying to convince someone to do anything, it can be helpful to reach them on their own level. For kids, that often means turning to tech. There are a wide variety of apps that will play songs or give tips as your kid brushes. You may want to check out the Disney Magic Time, the Brush Monster, or the Brush DJ. Major toothpaste manufacturers such as Colgate also make apps that can be helpful.
Set a Timer
If you don’t want to use an app, you should set a timer. A basic egg timer or a clock on your smartphone can work perfectly. A timer makes sure that you brush for at least two minutes, and that helps to ensure your child gets clean teeth. Many kids rush through the process in about 30 seconds, but a timer helps to break that habit.
To get your child interested in brushing, make the process fun. Again, try to appeal to what they like. If they like pampering, do brushing in the evening along with a foot bath and a pedicure or a facial. If they love gifts, buy them a fun new toothbrush every few weeks — the couple dollars you spend on a toothbrush is a lot less than you might end up spending on dental work for not taking care of your child’s oral health. Or, buy an electric tooth brush, a toothbrush that plays a song, or something else that’s fun. Alternatively, mix up the location. Let your child spit their toothpaste into the grass or have them brush in bed after bedtime stories. Just be flexible and find something that works for your child.
Your child’s dental health is important, and the habits you create today will affect the rest of their life. To make an appointment, contact us today. At Nia Pediatrics, we provide dentistry and orthodontics for children and teens.