The age-old struggle to get kids to brush their teeth is one most parents know all too well. It’s one thing to stand over them and actually make them get the job done, but it’s not exactly practical nor is it an effective long-term solution. Instead, the key lies in getting them to take an active interest in brushing – making them want to brush their teeth is so much better than having to force them.
Easier said than done?
Perhaps, but there are ways and means by which the proverbial wheels can be greased a little. As with most things, the key lies in getting things started as early as possible and building positive habits from a young age. When it comes to the kinds of tips, tricks and tactics with the potential to prove effective, we searched long and hard for an assortment of pointers from actual parents.
So if you’d like to try your hand with a few tips and tricks that might actually work, here’s how to stand the best possible chance of getting your kids to brush…willingly!
Make It Fun
First and foremost, if there’s anything you can do whatsoever to make brushing fun, it’s probably something you should be doing. These days, there are plenty of videos available online that are designed to be watched as your child brushes their teeth. They run for the exact amount of time they should brush for, they entertain and some even offer simple dental health tips as a bonus. Likewise, you could think about adding a little music or their favourite nursery rhyme into the mix. Make one up yourself if you prefer! Making brushing fun for kids might sound like an impossible task, but there are endless online resources available to help you do exactly that. Best of all, most of them are 100% free of charge too!
Tools For The Job
One tried, tested and guaranteed way of getting kids to take a more active interest in brushing is to arm them with a new toy or two. Specifically, the very best electric toothbrush for kids could go a long way to encourage them to get into positive oral hygiene habits. There are so many examples available these days with flashing lights, sounds and all manner of wild and wacky designs they’ll get a real kick out of using. The added bonus of course being that electric toothbrushes have the potential to be infinitely more effective and easier to use than a manual toothbrush. Dentists comprehensively recommend the use of electric toothbrushes – the earlier your kids get started with the right tools, the better!
Build A Routine
It is also important to build some kind of familiar routine your kids will come to know, both morning and evening alike. Brushing should be something that follows something and precedes something else – an everyday activity they end up doing instinctively, without having to think about it. The same also goes for any additional oral health habits you’d like to get your kids into, such as using mouthwash after eating anything with a heavy sugar content. It’s not a case of placing emphasis on the importance of what they’re doing, but rather getting to the point where it is second nature and doesn’t even come into consideration.
Be sure to make your decisions carefully when it comes to selecting both a quality toothpaste and the very best mouthwash for kids available. It’s important to acknowledge and accept the fact that a lot of kids…most of them in fact…really do not care too much for the taste of minty toothpaste. Some actually find it nothing short of revolting. Which is where there’s a whole world of kid-friendly products on the market right now, which not only deliver truly superb results but are also much more palatable for children. Needless to say, if you make the switch to a toothpaste that tastes more like strawberries than spearmint, you might find them more inclined to take an interest!
Remind Them Why They Brush
While it’s not necessarily a good idea to try and scare kids into brushing, it’s nonetheless important to ensure they realise the consequences of failing to keep their mouths clean. It may only be as they get a little older that they really understand it all, but it’s still useful to both show and tell them what can happen if they don’t brush. Bad breath, black teeth, tooth loss and a mouth full of nasty bacteria and germs – kids need to have a reason to brush to show any real interest in doing so whatsoever.
Last but not least, rewarding good behaviour when it comes to oral hygiene isn’t a sustainable system long-term, but it can be great for getting kids into good habits from an early age. One idea is to put up a start chart somewhere around the home and add a gold star every time the child in question brushes their teeth properly morning and night. Then, every time they collect ten stars in a row without any gaps, they get a small reward of some kind. A chocolate bar, being able to stay up one hour later than usual, a trip somewhere nice at the weekend or anything else suitable that you can think of. They’ll soon enter into a routine where they brush their teeth without even thinking about it – even when the incentives are removed from the equation, further down the line.