Just like taking baths and eating veggies, brushing their teeth can be an activity that kids don’t always greet with a whole lot of enthusiasm. In fact, most of the time it can be met with outright resistance. But a solid teeth-brushing regimen is important to help children combat tooth decay and develop a lifetime of good oral hygiene.
So how should parents get their kids brushing their teeth regularly?
Modeling good behavior is one of the best ways to promote healthy habits in your children, rather than seeing them as a chore. When you brush your teeth in front of them, be happy that you’re doing it and make it look like fun. By doing this, the kids will want to do it too, so let them copy you. Buy them the same color toothbrush as you have, or try an electric one, which may be more entertaining, and let them try brushing your teeth and vice versa to make sure they are as clean as can be.
- Tell them a story
Tell them all about how sugar which stays on your teeth can make them decay, turn them black and make them full of holes, so that they know the consequences of not doing it properly. Create characters and “Sugar Bugs” so that your stories are child-friendly, as well as being educational.
- Show and tell
If they’re still unconvinced, you can try using a dissolving agent, available at pharmacists’ counters and dental offices, to show them the plaque on their teeth. All they need to do is chew the sweet you give them, and the plaque that is on their teeth with turn pink. This will show them where they need to brush, and how much work they need to do to get them sparkling! If you need a more extreme show and tell, you can always take them to your local dentist, like Owens DDS Practice, where you can ask them to show them pictures of what can happen if you neglect your teeth. You will likely find that information coming from a professional will be much better received than by you.
- Sing the alphabet or count time
To help your kids brush for the recommended length of two minutes, have them sing the alphabet while they are brushing or give them an egg timer to countdown the time. Don’t be afraid to get creative, and use other songs as well. A lot of dentists give out egg timers to kids who come into their practice so that they have no excuse not to brush for the right amount of time when they get home. If your dentist can’t give you one, they are easy to find and cheap, too.
- Make bubbles
Encourage your kids to make loads of bubbles when they are brushing, as this will mean that they are brushing well. If you need some healthy competition to get this going, set up a contest to see who out of everyone in the family can make the most bubbles. There will be a bit of a mess to clean up at the end, but it will be worth it.