Oral Health Buzz
Simple Ways to Make Brushing Teeth Fun
Tired of the tears and resistance when it comes to brushing teeth? Explaining the importance of proper dental care is not enough to encourage children to stop their fun and games to take care of their teeth. However, it is possible to bring playfulness to brushing.
Make It Special
Let your child pick out his or her own toothbrush. Perhaps a Batman or Hello Kitty model will do the trick. You can also find kits with stickers that allow children to design their own brushes. Then, pick out a great flavor of toothpaste. Think beyond mint! There are many great flavors available for kids, such as strawberry, watermelon, berry and bubble gum. Finally, brush your own teeth with your child. Put on a favorite song, and use your toothbrush as a microphone. Then make funny faces at each other in the mirror.
- Give your child a toothbrush to play with. Let him brush his stuffed animal or doll's teeth while you brush his.
- Let your child brush your teeth. (Don't forget to do it again yourself later.)
- Cheer with each tooth brushed: "Tooth number eight is clean and shiny!" Then give an enthusiastic "Woohoo!"
- Download a fun app. "Brush DJ" plays two minutes of music (the recommended time for brushing) while the brusher races against the clock to get a clean mouth before time is up. "Star Teeth" allows kids to pick a character who encourages them while they brush.
If nothing else works, it is okay to offer rewards. Do not look at it as a bribe. Even adults get rewarded for good choices: For example, getting a paycheck for coming to work. There is no need for an elaborate prize; a little something to provide motivation will suffice. Allow your child to pick a book to read or a sticker after brushing.
With a little creativity, your child may even come to look forward to brushing teeth. Encouraging good dental practices does not have to be a chore that everyone hates. Make it a favorite part of the day!
Learn more about children's dental health in the Colgate Oral Care resources.