Make toothbrushing a habit for your child with the power of play.
According to the CDC, about 20% of children between the ages of five and 11 have untreated tooth decay. Regular dental appointments and opting for fluoride treatments go a long way in stopping tooth decay, but twice-daily toothbrushing is still one of the most important steps in cavity prevention. By taking advantage of the power of playing and having fun, you can turn toothbrushing into an event that your child can feel excited about.
Here are 8 fun ways to turn your child’s daily toothbrushing habit into something they look forward to morning and night.
1. Make daily toothbrushing an exciting, fun event as soon as your baby’s teeth start to come in.
Approach toothbrushing as something exciting as early as when your baby’s teeth first start to appear. Use a clean washcloth to gently wipe their gums twice a day, switching to an infant toothbrush once their teeth begin to erupt. You’ll also want to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment by their first birthday.
By getting your baby used to dental care so soon, not only will their baby teeth be healthier but they’ll also view toothbrushing in a positive way.
2. Let your child pick out a fun toothbrush and a new tube of toothpaste every three months.
An easy but effective way to help your child look forward to brushing their teeth is to let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. You’ll want to limit their selection to ADA-approved options, but from there you can let them pick whichever toothbrush and toothpaste appeals to them.
Be sure to replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months or as soon as you notice the bristles wearing down.
3. Turn tooth care into a family affair by getting everyone together for bedtime brushing.
When kids see their parents and older siblings get excited about brushing their teeth, they can’t help but feel the same way.
Gathering together in the bathroom to brush teeth and floss after dinner is a great way to make sure everyone in your family is getting in their bedtime brushing. This is also really helpful to keep kids accountable when it’s been a long day and the temptation to skip brushing is there.
4. Playing dentist is a great way to teach young kids about brushing their teeth and prepare them for future dental appointments.
Some very young kids might feel afraid of a toothbrush or having a dentist examine their mouths. This is completely normal and can actually make for a great opportunity to play with your child.
Role playing as a dentist and allowing your child to brush your teeth or look in your mouth shows them there’s nothing to fear. You can even purchase toy dental kits online to really make playtime feel more realistic. As your child grows more confident you can take turns being the dentist and the patient.
5. Print out a colorful toothbrush habit tracking chart and award fun stickers for morning and nightly brushing.
It goes without saying that kids love stickers and seeing their progress visually represented with them. Take an idea from teachers and print out a colorful toothbrush tracking chart. This chart could be for the week or the month. You can even repurpose a simple calendar and have your child decorate it to their heart’s content.
Every time your child brushes their teeth they can place a cool sticker on their chart for that day. At the end of the week or the month, you can reward them with a special toy or some other small prize.
6. Set up a stool or a mirror so your child can watch themselves brushing their teeth up close.
Young kids might find it difficult to see themselves in the bathroom mirror when they’re brushing their teeth. If this is the case, set up a stool or use a countertop mirror so your child can get close up to the mirror to watch themselves as they brush. This turns something fairly mundane like brushing their teeth or flossing into something interesting and new.
Being able to see clearly also encourages kids to brush their teeth more thoroughly and makes it easier to not accidentally skip a tooth while flossing.
7. Tell your child a funny story and read jokes in a silly voice while they brush their teeth.
Two minutes of brushing can go by really fast when you share a funny story or tell some jokes to your child. It also gives your child something to look forward to every time they brush their teeth.
Another idea is to let your child pick a goofy character for you to play out while they brush. Put on a silly voice and have fun. Once they’re done brushing, pick out a character for them to play out while you brush your teeth.
8. Change things up by letting your child pick out a song or a video to listen to while brushing their teeth.
The classic two-minute hourglass is a favorite method for helping kids time their brushing. This is effective, but seeing the same hourglass can be a little boring. Spice things up by letting your kid pick out a song to listen to while they brush their teeth.
Another great option is to play a two-minute video of their choice. Look on YouTube to find dental-related toothbrushing songs and videos, including some with characters from well-known shows like “Sesame Street.”
Complete your child’s tooth care routine with a visit to Dr. Shea, DDS.
When your kids need the best dentist in Rochester, NY, Dr. Shea’s office is the place to go. Dr. Shea is a dedicated kids’ dentist who provides preventive, restorative, orthodontic, and emergency care.
Unlike a family dentistry practice, Dr. Shea and the rest of the team are specially trained to work with kids of all ages, from infancy up to the teenage years. By taking your child to a pediatric dental group, you’re ensuring they have a wonderful experience with a team that’s adept at providing compassionate care with youngsters in mind.
When you’re ready to book your child’s next dental visit, you can either give our office a call, send us an email, or use our online appointment request form.