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Encouraging your kids to brush their teeth… even when they don’t want to!

December 03, 2012

Blue or green? No, I’m not talking about candy. I’m talking about when the dental hygienist asks your kids what color toothbrush they want. Who knew choosing colors could be so exciting! The dental hygienist hopes to leave the child with a smile on his/her face, while the parents are secretly hoping that a new toothbrush will make the daily brushings at home go a little smoother. But, after a week or two, the newness of the toothbrush wears off and kids often become less enthused, and often resistant, to brushing their teeth.

How often should your kids be brushing their teeth?

Dental hygiene should begin even before your child has their first tooth. Begin cleaning your child’s mouth by gently wiping gums clean with a clean, moist washcloth. Your child’s teeth will usually begin to grow in at about 6 months of age. As soon as the first tooth appears, your child is at risk for tooth decay, which is why it’s important to brush his/her teeth (or tooth) with a child-size toothbrush and water. When kids reach the age of 2 or 3, they can graduate to brushing their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. It is recommended that children (and adults) brush their teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bed, for two minutes. It’s important to teach your kids good oral hygiene habits at an early age, so that they can establish a healthy routine as they get older. But, this can be hard sometimes when it seems the brushing battle never ends.

But let’s face it. When it comes to brushing their teeth, it can be difficult to motivate kids without a little (or a lot of) nagging. Next time it’s time to hit the sinks, try out one of these helpful tips to get your kids brushing:

Flavor is everything. Whether you are looking for toothpaste with fluoride, that’s all natural, or the cheapest, make flavor the number one priority on your list. Kids who enjoy the taste of toothpaste are more likely to enjoy brushing their teeth, than those who do not.

Brush to tunes. Have some fun while brushing and pick a song to sing to your kids while they brush their teeth to help them know when their two minutes are up.

Let them pick. Let your child pick out his/her own toothbrush to help them feel a part of the process. Fun toothbrushes are sure to catch a child’s eye, whether it’s a bright color, lights up, or their favorite character!

Rewards. Create a rewards chart to track their daily brushings and give them a sticker each time they brush their teeth. Set a limit to how many stickers they need before they can receive a prize.

There’s an app for that. Download this app from Aquafresh, or any other brushing app, to make brushing teeth a fun game for kids! This app times kids for two minutes while playing a catchy song, telling them when to switch to a different area, and allowing them to earn points at each sitting.

Whether it’s playing a song while brushing, or rewarding good dental hygiene with prizes, it’s important to make this time fun for kids, so that they begin to look forward to brushing their teeth!

For more information on healthy dental hygiene for your child, visit the American Dental Association website.

How do you motivate your kids to keep their pearly whites clean at home?