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Brushing Teeth for Kids: How To Get Them To Do it

When you think about all the stuff that kids have to figure out, it's pretty remarkable. Day in and day, out children face something most adults do not have to handle anymore: something new. Children have to learn all the little things that adults take for granted. Even something like brushing teeth for kids is a new skill to learn.

As a parent, you know that the little things can be the most important for your child’s overall health. And learning to brush their teeth correctly is a critical skill for kids to master. Good oral hygiene is one the keys to a healthy life, and its benefits extend beyond the mouth.

The Smiles for Life team loves to partner with families in their orthodontic journey. If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s teeth are developing, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Brushing Teeth for Kids: Build Up Good Habits

When parents wait too long to introduce teeth brushing habits, children can resist the intrusion. So experts recommend starting very early and following the following guidelines:

  1. Before teeth appear for your baby, gently wipe your child’s gums after they eat. Use a wet washcloth wrapped around your finger and give the gums a quick couple of swipes.
  2. Once teeth break through, you can introduce a toothbrush with a soft head. You can also use toothpaste at this time but use a minimal amount. About the size of a grain of rice is sufficient.
  3. At age three, children can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  4. Parents typically need to help brush their child's teeth until their kiddo is around six years old.

Teaching a skill like proper teeth brushing can take more time than you might expect. And until the child can adequately clean all surfaces of their teeth, they will need you to help or monitor as they brush.

And once they get the knack, be sure to continue reminding them each morning and evening. And periodically watch to make sure your child is still doing a good job on their own. 

Poor dental hygiene can bring tremendous discomfort and poor health, so proper brushing teeth for kids is crucial. We can help spare kids from painful or costly dental procedures by simply teaching them how to brush their teeth. 

Don’t let your kids off the hook. They must brush their teeth at least twice a day: in the morning when they wake up and before they go to bed in the evening. And if they eat something particularly sticky during the day, another brushing is in order.

How Do You Get Your Kids to Brush?

Brushing teeth for kids doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s actually a simple way to help ensure lifelong health. But, of course, kids don’t think that way. They like to have fun, and standing in front of a mirror for two minutes can seem like an eternity to most children. Try some of these tips to help take the work out of this vital daily routine.

Be There 

One of the most important things you can do is stay by their side as they establish this habit. Just being there next to them can help them form routine and consistency. 

Once they move onto solo brushing, your job isn’t done. Spot checks remain necessary, even into the teen years. Think of it as an episode of the TV show “Undercover Boss” and pop in unexpectedly to monitor their technique. Kids need to know that there could be someone checking in, or they may just squeeze the toothpaste and make faces in the mirror for a few minutes.

And a post-brushing quality assurance check is a good idea too. A sniff test for the minty freshness of well-scrubbed teeth can give you useful data here. Your child will learn that they can’t skip out on this job, and you can stay on top of their oral health. And when they have done a great job, tell them!

Bring the Song and Dance

Brushing teeth for kids can have a little bit of a party element added in. For younger children, especially, it can be something they look forward to and participate in enthusiastically. 

Make up songs about teeth brushing. Set a timer that has a funny sound when it goes off to tell them they brushed long enough. Or work on some dance moves in front of the mirror while brushing. There are even toothbrushes that have built-in timers and music to help your child stay on track.

Some children enjoy having a parent read them a short story while they brush. Literacy and hygiene all rolled into one! 

Let Them Watch Some Videos

Some children are visual learners and do well if they can watch a demonstration of a new skill. You could search online for videos on proper teeth brushing techniques for your child to see. And if the video is of another child rather than an adult, that is even better. Most kids respond well to other youngsters and peers. 

Back It Up with Bling

A reward system can be highly effective in helping your child establish and maintain a good teeth brushing habit. Stickers, quarters, screen time, or little prizes can be awesome motivators for kids. Since it can take up to two months for a person to build a new habit, offering some encouragement in the form of a reward can help them stick with it that long. Kind of like going to your job because you know there will be a paycheck coming, right?

We’ll Help Your Child Love Their Smile

So much of parenting involves worrying about your child’s health. We partner with families to help take some of that worry off their plates. Our friendly, expert staff looks forward to the chance to meet you and walk through the orthodontic process together. 

From traditional braces to Invisalign aligners, Smiles for Life has many options for you to consider. Call for an appointment and let’s get to know each other.

American Dental Association American Association of Orthodontists Texas Association of Orthodontists Southwestern Society of Orthodontists