How to Encourage Good Brushing Habits in Children

Getting your children to brush their teeth twice a day can seem like a challenge, not to mention teaching them how to floss correctly. Part of the problem some parents experience is their children treat brushing their teeth like a chore or even a punishment because they do not like doing this task.

They might go into the bathroom, wet down their tooth brush, and then come back and tell you they brushed their teeth, even though the brush and toothpaste never even made it into their mouth. Of course, you check and see their brush is wet, so you assume they did brush their teeth. Then, at their next regular checkup at your family dental clinic, you are informed they have numerous cavities because they are not brushing.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your child develop good brushing habits and keep their teeth cavity-free.

  1. Let your child pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Part of the reason why your child is not brushing is they could dislike the flavour of the toothpaste you got them. By getting them involved in picking their oral care products, they are more likely to brush.
  2. Lead by example. When you brush your teeth have your kids brush their teeth at the same time. Not only will your kids see how you are brushing your teeth, but you will also see how they are brushing theirs, which makes it easier to correct improper brushing.
  3. Play their favorite music during teeth brushing times. To get the teeth clean, you and your children should be brushing your teeth for a two-minute period, with 30 seconds spent in each quadrant (upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right). Turning on some music will make these two minutes fly by much more quickly.
  4. Help your child with flossing. Younger kids have small hands and using dental floss is challenging. You will need to floss their teeth until they get older and are able to start doing this task for themselves.

TIP: Some parents get dental flossers, which are a dental accessory that has a small handle or other graspable area, with pre-threaded floss on the end of the accessory. Using these can make it easier for parents to floss their children’s teeth, plus children like them because it gives them something that fits in their hands, so they can floss their teeth on their own.

  1. Reward your child for brushing. Some parents find creating a chart and putting gold stars or stickers on it for each time their child brushes is a great tool and actually encourages their child to brush. At the end of the week, reward your child based on the number of stars or stickers they earned, like with an outing to the park, their favorite meal, or taking them to the movies.

By developing ideas to make brushing more enjoyable and fun for your child, they will develop good oral care habits. For more ideas or to schedule a checkup for you or your child, please feel free to call Oasis Family Dental at (807) 623-2662 today!

Oasis Family Dental
501 Edward St. N Thunder Bay, ON P7C 4R1
Phone: (807) 623-2662