Mom brushing daughters teeth

Getting your kids to brush and floss can feel like an uphill battle. Some days, it’s hard enough getting them to take a bath and to bed on time.

But instilling a healthy oral hygiene routine early will help your kids maintain a healthy smile well into adulthood.

With one in five kids having at least one decaying tooth, it’s important for parents to help their kids establish a solid oral hygiene routine to prevent tooth loss.

If you’re struggling to get your kids to brush their teeth regularly, these six parenting hacks can help.

8 kids smiling outdoors, nice smiles

1. Set a Good Brushing Example

Kids learn by example, so set a good one, just like when we all got Covid-19 vaccines, make sure that you’re brushing and flossing your own teeth at least twice a day. Have fun with it. Dance. Sing. Have a good time. When your kids see just how much fun you’re having, they’ll be eager to follow in your footsteps.

2. Tell Them Why Brushing is So Important

Kids have more incentive to brush their teeth if they know why it’s so important. Don’t get too technical with the details. Break it down into a language that your children will understand:

  • Brushing keeps your teeth healthy and clean.
  • Brushing gets rid of that icky, sticky stuff on your teeth!
  • If you don’t brush and floss, you may get cavities that can hurt.

If you’re having trouble explaining it in a way that your little ones can understand, your child’s dentist can help.

3. Play Show and Tell

Show your child how to brush and floss. Explain what you’re doing and why it’s important. If you have any fillings, you can show your child what happens if you don’t brush your teeth regularly.

The goal isn’t to scare your kids into brushing, but to say, “hey, removing that sticky stuff is important if you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong.”

While you’re playing show and tell, have your kids practice brushing on a teddy bear or other toy. This will give them a confidence boost and show them that brushing isn’t as hard as it looks.

4. Choose Brushes with Fun Handles

Give your kids brushes they want to use - ones with their favorite superhero or cartoon character on the handle. They’ll be eager to brush every day if they know they’ll be brushing with Superman or their favorite Paw Patrol character.

There are so many kid-friendly brushes with fun handles. Let your kids pick out their brushes, so they can feel like they're part of the decision-making process.

5. Make a Dental Chart with Stickers

Positive reinforcement is a great way to get kids to adopt new and healthy habits. Tooth brushing is no different. Rewarding your kids for a job well done will encourage them to keep up their brushing habits.

Make a fun dental chart for your kids, and give them stickers each time they brush their teeth for a whole two minutes. Maybe you can offer a bigger reward if they brush and floss every day for an entire week or month.

Choose stickers you know your kids will love. Feel free to get creative with your chart, too. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want. You can also find plenty of printable charts online as well as reward charts for kids.

6. Having Fun with Flossing

Brushing is just one piece of the puzzle. Flossing is just as important, but it can also be just as challenging to get kids to adopt this habit.

If you can make flossing fun, you can get your kids on board. Look for flossers with easy handles that are comfortable for kids to use. You can find flossers in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs for smalll and large gaps between teeth.

Bonus Tip: Have FUN! Sing and Dance

Make brushing time a fun time. Sing songs, dance and laugh. Brush together to reinforce the importance of brushing your teeth.

Check out YouTube for fun brushing songs you can sing together. In addition to having fun, kids will also learn how to brush their teeth and why it’s important.

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Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu - Dentist at Lighthouse Dental Centre and Blue Water Dental
Dr. Gurpreet Sidhu

With nearly two decades of experience, Dr. Sidhu enjoys helping his patients learn about dentistry. Knowledge is meant to be improved, challenged and shared.

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