Help Kids Make Brushing Their Teeth Fun
Image Credit: andrewmalone @ Flickr
Let’s face it; we all went through a phase as kids where the last thing we wanted to do was brush our teeth. “Toothbrush? Icky-tasting toothpaste? Dentist? No way!” is what we’d claim. Despite the warnings from those older (and wiser) than ourselves, we wouldn’t brush our teeth twice a day and we’d continue to sneak sugar-filled candy into our mouths.
Of course, we were in total disbelief when the dentist found a cavity or two.
Why didn’t we listen? Were we just stubborn rugrats who hated the after burn of extremely minty toothpaste? While that is possible, another (and more probable) explanation is because brushing our teeth wasn’t fun. Instead of having a good time brushing our pearly-whites, we dreaded it because it felt like a chore. Children today, though, don’t have to go through the same phase as we did—at least, not for as long.
If we help instill good habits into our kids now and actually make brushing teeth fun, chances are, there won’t be as many trips to the dentist to have your child’s cavities filled. Child dentistry is where it all begins and where we either develop healthy oral hygiene habits, or habits that are not so healthy. Just like when you held your child’s hand during their first visit with the dentist (or the first ten visits), do the same thing and be there for them to make brushing fun. Nobody likes cavities, so join your kids and practice good oral hygiene habits as a family. Plus, at Winter Garden Smiles, children can join our No Cavity Club and win prizes if they don’t have any cavities during their check-ups.
Here are a few ways to make brushing teeth fun for kids:
(Don’t worry, parents, you can join in too!)
- Choose your weapon. — Kids don’t need to be stuck with plain and boring toothbrushes that adults might feel obligated to use. Let them pick out a pink and purple toothbrush if they love those colors, or a Hello Kitty toothbrush if that’s what they prefer. Or, let your kid pick out the toothbrush of their favorite superhero! If you have a kid that loves Thor, you can tell them their toothbrush is as powerful as Thor’s hammer, and must be used wisely in order to guard and protect their teeth from foreign enemies known as plaque, tartar, and cavities.
- Pick a flavor, any flavor. — Not everyone wants to taste the frosty burn of spearmint or have his or her tongue tingle from cinnamon spice. If your kid is picky, let them have the flavor of their choosing. There are several child-friendly flavors out there, even bubblegum.
- Bust a move together! — Blast a song that you and your child love, and brush your teeth to it. Try to pick a song that plays for at least two minutes (the recommended time to spend brushing your teeth), and pretend the two of you are rock stars. If you can’t find a good enough song, be extra-creative with your kid and encourage them to write their own.
- Bribing never hurts. — Develop a reward system for your child. Keep a calendar in the bathroom or somewhere nearby, and with each day that your child brushes and flosses their teeth morning and night, let them place a sticker on that day (a shiny gold star, a smiley face, etc.). Tell them they’ll receive a treat (a trip to Toys R Us, a game night with the family, or order their favorite pizza) at the end of the week if they earned enough stickers that week.
- Switch it up. — If listening to a song isn’t enough, try making up a dance with your little one! If that becomes boring, count aloud with your child while they brush their teeth. “Tooth one is clean, tooth two is clean,” and so on. Don’t be afraid to encourage them to get creative with it. For example, “Starship one is clean, starship two had a lot of work to be done after being out in space for so long, but it’s back into gear.” Also, keep a variety of toothpaste flavors, fluoride rinses, and even multiple toothbrushes to keep boredom at bay.
Maintaining good oral hygiene doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Once it becomes a habit, it’ll only further benefit your little ones. It’s still recommended to see the dentist every six months, and if you’re in the Orlando area, we are conveniently located in Winter Garden. For more tips on dental care for kids, click here. Feel free to connect with us, Winter Garden Smiles, on our Facebook page and let us know how the tips listed above helped you and your family out with turning the old boring routine of brushing teeth into a fun activity for everyone to enjoy.