It’s been said that you can never be unhappy when brushing your teeth! If you disagree, maybe the first step toward encouraging your child to brush is to find things that you appreciate about your oral health.
Sharing a positive attitude about the process goes a long way, but if you’ve tried sharing your own delight and that doesn’t work, here are some more tips for getting your child to brush.
Allow your child to help choose a toothbrush. Discuss the options together. Some things to talk about include what the bristles feel like. Are they hard or soft? Would the child like an electric toothbrush? How does she feel about the sound of the electric toothbrush? Would he like a character on his toothbrush? Consider getting a toothbrush with a timer so the child will know when two minutes (the recommended time for brushing) are over.
Let Your Kiddo Pick Out Their Toothbrush
Some children’s toothbrushes are musical. Consider how your child behaves with music. Does she enjoy moving rhythmically? If you feel music would encourage your child to brush, but it isn’t an option on his toothbrush, consider allowing him to help pick out some music to listen to as he brushes. Maybe one song during the morning routine and another in the evening.
Paying Attention to the Toothpaste
During the brushing process, have fun and call attention to the texture of the toothpaste. Toothpaste is one of the few things children get to hold in their mouths. When it first goes in, direct your child’s attention to how it feels. Is it smooth? Slimy? Cool? Hot? Point out how the texture changes during the process. It gets foamy. Cool becomes warm. Hot becomes cool and refreshing. (If the child thinks the toothpaste is too hot, you will need to choose a different flavor.) And don’t forget the pleasures of getting to spit!
A Clean Mouth Feels Much Better!
When it’s all over, call attention to the feel of a clean mouth. Direct your child to use the tongue to feel the teeth, the roof of her mouth, the gums, and the cheeks. Ask her to describe what it feels like.
When it’s time to brush again. Re-visit that last point. What does his mouth feel like before he brushes? Doing this before and after will help him understand the difference between a clean mouth and a dirty one.
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