Help Your Child Brush His Teeth: Brushing Chart, Stickers, Rewards, Check!

I've found that my son learns many of his life skills better when using a reward chart. Potty training? Check. Chores? Check. The same goes for brushing my son's teeth. Brushing chart? Check. Not sure if a brushing chart is worth the time and effort? Continue reading for three reasons you should use a brushing chart.

Make Toothbrushing Fun and Rewarding

Brushing charts are great because they help make brushing fun for kids. For a reluctant toddler, a reward chart might be the incentive he needs to make twice-daily brushing something he looks forward to. Be sure to praise your little one as they line those check marks or stickers up. The more fun and rewarding you make the process, the more likely he'll want to continue. You might want to offer a prize or reward if they complete a specified amount, such as a new toy, book or special outing after a week or month of toothbrushing.

Visual Prompt of Good Behavior

A lot of children need a visual aid to help them understand a new concept, even something that appears mundane to adults like brushing their teeth. Brushing chart visual aids are easily customizable for your child. Just take a trip to your favorite store for the stickers of his choice: shapes, colors, characters or sports, the possibilities are endless. Involving them in the process of choosing will get your child excited, and it will help him understand how important it is to brush daily.

Most importantly, a chart keeps your child focused and on-task. He will be able to keep track of his progress, which may help him understand how far he has come. When my son sees his stickers lined up in row, he feels proud of his accomplishment, and I feel proud that he's keeping his smile sparkly clean.

Instill Lifelong Habits

When a child starts brushing his teeth at a young age, he's more likely to continue these habits throughout his life. A brushing chart can help reinforce these habits early on, paving the way for a lifelong healthy smile.

Lucky for us busy parents, making a brushing chart couldn't be simpler. Colgate has an adorable, free brushing chart that you can print out in seconds. This page offers one week of charting, with a.m. and p.m. brushings. Your child can place stickers on top of the appropriate pictures. Or, you can laminate this page or place it into a sheet protector. Then your child can use a dry erase marker to check off (or color in) the sun and moon for day and night. Place the chart in a handy spot in the bathroom and get brushing!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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How to FLOSS

  1. Pull 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the floss dispenser.

  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.

  3. Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

How to BRUSH

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.

  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.

  3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.

  4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.

  5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.