Encouraging children to brush their teeth can be a difficult, daily battle. Let’s face it, kids would rather be doing a million other things instead of spending minutes brushing their teeth every morning and night
However, perseverance is important as tooth decay in children is quickly on the rise, and kids are having rotten teeth extracted more than ever before.
Here are some tips to help make teeth brushing time that little bit easier and to make sure the job gets done:
- One of the most effective things you can do is make it clear when it’s time to brush each and every day. It could be that everyday at 7.30am and 8pm its teeth brushing time.
Doing this will eliminate the element of surprise and gentle reminders now and then will be easier for them to take. After a while, they’ll be so used to the schedule that they should get on with it themselves.
- Some children respond well to timers and novelty toothbrushes and if this is what it takes to get them brushing, give it a try. Timers are great (even for adults) because most people underestimate the time it takes to brush. A solid two minutes is the recommendation but most people fall well short of that.
- Educating children is important and can help them make better choices to care for their teeth. Whilst many kids aren’t brushing regularly enough they’re also consuming more and more sugary foods and both together is a recipe for disaster.
By helping kids understand what sugar does to teeth and how much sugar is actually in the foods they eat, they can make better choices. It’s important to offer alternatives when doing this as well. Whilst it’s good to highlight problems with their favourite foods, if there’s no alternative for them they’ll just take the easy option.
4, A trip to the dentist is often enough for the penny to drop with some children.
Most kids are terrified of the dentist and will do anything to avoid going, even brushing their teeth. A quick check up at Stella Maris, and a chat with the dentist might be all they need to get into the habit.
- Rewarding children for good behaviour and doing what they’re supposed to do can sometimes be a good way to get them to do things. Whilst I agree that rewarding children for doing important self maintenance tasks shouldn’t be a long term strategy, it might be enough to get them into the habit before changing the rules later down the line.
Every child is different and different children will respond to different methods.
The important thing is to keep persevering until you find a method that works for the long term. It’s the parents responsibility to ensure children brush their teeth and using some of the methods above should make the job easier.