Children need to learn how to brush their teeth, but many don’t have the patience or motor skills to do it correctly. Northstar family dentists recommend that children and adults brush at least twice daily. They also recommend that their patients floss daily. If parents can make brushing fun, children will remember to brush and take care of their teeth. These techniques help children develop good oral hygiene habits.
1. Give Children a Choice
Children are more likely to get engaged in any activity when they have a choice. While children shouldn’t have a choice about brushing their teeth, they can have fun choosing their toothbrush and toothpaste flavors.
You can also help children learn about telling time by letting children choose their brushing time – within reason. Bring your child to the store, and let them select a few favorite tooth brushes. Then, each night, they can choose which brush they want to use. Since dentists usually recommend electric toothbrushes, include one of those in the group.
2. Play Music While Brushing
You can make toothbrush time fun while attaching it to a favorite song. Children can brush to the beat, and they can choose different songs for each day of the week. Kids can also make up a special tooth brushing song that they sing before they visit the sink.
3. Tell Stories
Brushing becomes fun when children can attach the practice to fun stories. Introduce your children to the cavity monster and explain how the monster can hurt their teeth. Consider a visit to the library to check out books about oral hygiene, and reward your child with story time before or after tooth brushing time.
You and your child can make up tooth stories, then together you can write a story book with illustrations. Children love to spend time with their parents learning together, so they will appreciate building stories with you.
4. Be the Tortoise
Another fun way to encourage tooth brushing is by making it into a race, but a special kind of race (because children need to take their time brushing). Before you start the race, spend time together reading about the tortoise and the hare.
Teach your child that they should be like the tortoise, and be slow and steady during tooth brushing time. Set a timer and encourage your child to take as long as the clock. If they can take as long as the clock, they should get a special reward. If they can continuously brush slowly repeatedly, reward your child with a special prize – maybe a plush turtle!
5. Do a Science Experiment
Finally, consider a fun science experiment to see how teeth will react to sugary beverages. You’ll need an egg and cola. Start with a glass filled with a cola. Put the egg in the soda glass at the beginning of the day, then 8 to 10 hours later take it out. Your child will see how the soda affects their teeth.