Even if it can be tricky to get your child to regularly want to brush their teeth, it is incredibly important that they have their teeth brushed at least twice a day. Until your child reaches eight years of age they won't have the proper dexterity to do a good enough job brushing their teeth on their own.
There are times when it can be a fight, so try to make it fun. Like most things, routine is key.
Here are some tricks to get your kids excited about brushing:
- Let your toddler or child hold your toothbrush and brush your teeth while you hold their brush to brush their teeth. Usually, this is a fun way that they enjoy brushing.
- Ask your child to look in the mirror with their mouth open and pretend to see "sugar bugs", then proceed to brush them away.
- Purchase toothbrushes specifically designed to entertain children. There are fun colours and characters and some even connect via Bluetooth and kids can follow along on your phone while they brush.
- Offer small rewards for challenging toddlers after brushing – like stickers, reading a favorite book afterward, or holding a special toy.
- Using a (separate) toothbrush, brush the teeth of each of your child’s favorite toys after you brush your own. Talk about how important it is that their toy takes care of their teeth. Most toddlers, upon seeing how much their toy loves having their teeth brushed, will want theirs done also.
- How you ask can allow them to feel some independence. You might ask “Which toothbrush would you like to use?” instead of “Are you ready to brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth?” They'll feel involved in the decision and be more likely to cooperate.
If none of these methods are working it is still important that their teeth get cleaned. You can try using a piece of gauze to rub on their teeth. There are some pre-formed gauze pieces just for this purpose.
You should also be sure to bring your child to regular hygiene appointments to have their teeth professionally cleaned and then examined by a dentist. This allows your dentist to check your child's teeth for any emerging issues and ensure your at-home dental care routine is working.