How To Get Your Child To Brush Their Teeth

a little girl at the orthodontist pretending to brush her stuffed animals teeth

Oral hygiene is a very important factor in maintaining your child’s beautiful smile but more than that it is EXTREMELY important in maintaining their overall health!  The American Dental Association recommends a standard regimen of brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Staying committed to this routine promotes healthier, more beautiful smiles!  This can be a tough task for a child because, let’s face it; if it were up to them, they probably wouldn’t brush at all.  It can also be tough for a parent to stick to because, let’s face it, life with children can be hectic.  Once you commit to developing a routine in your home, we promise it will benefit the entire family in the long run!

Positive Reinforcement

So how do we get the kids on board?  Often times kids need a goal and reward to help them accomplish establishing this routine.  They don’t understand yet how important healthy teeth can be to their future but they do understand stickers!  We recommend printing a calendar page (they can be found online) and having small stickers.  Explain to your child the goal is to brush twice a day for two minutes and to floss at night.  Set a time frame of how long you want them to commit to this and post your calendar.  It often helps to pick a reward for once the calendar is full of stickers; maybe they have a book they have been wanting or a game, the ideas are endless and we are sure your child has something on their wish list!  Then get to work filling up their calendar.  Although it doesn’t sound like much, most children are up for the challenge, especially when there is a reward on the line. Before you know it, they will have their prize and you will have established a routine of brushing that is so important!

There’s An App For That

The ADA recommends brushing two minutes each time that your child brushes.  Oral-B and Disney have collaborated to design a mobile application called “Disney Magic Timer,” that addresses this exact issue. They understand that the average child doesn’t follow a healthy regimen but they love Disney characters and are interested in anything that involves a tablet or mobile device. This free application has several stages and levels that children must brush to unlock. With popular characters including Little Mermaid, Yoda, Mickey Mouse, Iron Man and many more, this will motivate kids to unlock as many characters as they can, which will instill proper brushing habits. 

Brush With Them 

Dr. Mauney recommends that you brush your child’s teeth for them until the third grade, when their dexterity will be more developed and brushing correctly will be easier.  We understand that children like to be independent and brush for themselves.  In that case, let your child brush their teeth in the mornings and you do it in the evenings.  This ensures that their most thorough cleaning will be right before bed.  When the opportunity arises brush your teeth with your child.  Children like to do what their parents are doing and showing them good habits will help instill how important brushing and flossing are to your health.  Make a game out of it and see who can brush the longest.  Let them win sometimes to keep it interesting.  Getting children to brush can be tricky but these steps are definitely a way to get them on board!

The Chapel Hill Pediatric Experts

At Clifton & Mauney Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to provide the highest quality pediatric dental treatments accompanied with the care and compassion our clients deserve. It is our goal that your child has a beautiful and healthy smile.  If you have any questions about our treatments or services, contact us today so one of our dedicated representatives can assist you!