There are many parents out there who find that getting their young child to brush their teeth all too often turns into an ugly screaming and leg-kicking ordeal. There are however some steps that can be taken to see a child actually enjoy the oral hygiene-chore and be left with sparkling gnashers as a result…
Insist on a Routine for Brushing
A lack of morning and bedtime routine can see children become distressed when they are asked to do something such as brushing their teeth. This is because young children will not understand why they should do such upon the immediate request of Mum or Dad (the mentality of the child being; â€œI donâ€™t have to brush my teeth at this time usually, so why should I now?â€). Insisting on the same daily routine for brushing which coincides with getting ready for school or bed â€“ for example; at 8am and 8pm â€“ then is the best way of training your childâ€™s completion of this mouth-hygiene task to become automatic.
You should also supervise your childâ€™s tooth brushing whilst they are young. Not only is this important for keeping an eye on your childâ€™s intake of fluoride (found in many toothpastes) but simply shouting â€œHave you brushed your teeth yet?â€ up the stairs will give your child the option of lying with a â€œYesâ€ and skipping the de-scumming of their gnashers.
Buy a Brushing Timer
It is recommended that children brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day but did you know that the majority of children brush for only 35 seconds? Getting your child to brush their teeth can hardly be counted as a success if they are not completing the task properly! A brushing timer can be very useful for ensuring thorough brushing and the ringing of the device after the two minutes is up is also helpful for instilling the routine of your childâ€™s brushing even further.
As a bonus, tooth brushing timers are available in a variety of designs and so you are sure to find one that your child will love. Toothbrushes (and toothbrush holders) which comprise a built-in timer, light up LEDâ€™s and popular characters such as Spiderman and Barbie are also available.
Buy Child-Specific Dental Products
As the previous point suggests, children will be more inclined to brush their teeth if their favourite characters are involved in the process. This means you should buy your kids Hello Kitty, Barbie, Ben 10 or PokÃ©mon (etc.) themed toothbrushes and toothpastes. These same dental products in the simple, largely white designs that adults are used to look far too clinical and could make your child actually fear the cleaning of their teeth.
Childrenâ€™s toothpastes also have the benefit of being milder in taste â€“ the menthol burst provided by adult variants is usually too much for a childâ€™s palette to handle. Adult tooth brushes are not designed for the mouths of little ones either and so getting your child to use an adult brush can cause all kinds of discomfort.
Try Fairy Sweet Encouragement
All kids love sweets right? If you happen to have a sweet treat for your child to indulge with after the school day or dinner then be sure to only hand said treat over when you have made it clear that your child must brush their teeth before bed in order to prevent their teeth from getting furry. This is something that I used to say to my own two children:
â€œSweets might be yummy for your tummy but theyâ€™re scummy for your teeth!â€
The rhyming of this little phrase meant that my request for tooth brushing was seen as â€œfunâ€ and never nagging.
You should also remind your children that the Tooth Fairy only gives her money away for the cleanest of milk teeth and so your kids should â€œpolishâ€ theirs regularly.