Tips to Help Parents Brush their Kids Teeth
Ah, the constant battle of the brushes. As parents, we all know it’s hard enough to get our kids to go to bed without the additional struggle of getting them to brush their teeth.
Then we get to repeat that process all over again in the morning, whilst trying to get them to school on time!
I’m sure the words “Have you brushed your teeth?” have come out of your mouth more often than “Have you put your shoes on?”.
So how do we make this task easier, for both ourselves and our children?
I answer this in the paragraphs that follow, but first…
You must know it is very important for your children to brush their teeth twice daily – even whilst they still have their baby teeth. Not doing so can lead to decay, infection, and have far-reaching repercussions on their adult teeth.
We all want our children to have a beautiful, healthy smile, so it’s not a procedure that can be skipped and its something you need to teach your child to do whilst still young.
Today we will show you how to make it seem like less of a chore and make it more fun.
If it seems like a chore, your child will do anything possible to avoid it, but if it seems like fun, before you know it, it will become one of the favourite times of their day! That means no more battling over brushing and a happier, healthier smile for all!
What Procedure should I Follow to Help my Child Brush their Teeth?
When it comes to brushing your child’s teeth, simply follow the same pattern as you do your own – use only gentle circular motions and replace their toothbrush every 3-4 months (earlier if fraying).
A good guideline to follow regarding your child’s age on tooth brushing is;
12 months old – Introduce a soft toothbrush into their life (perhaps even slightly earlier if they will allow it).
However, at this age it is very important you do not use toothpaste – use only water.
18 months old – Begin to use toothpaste. Just be careful – they may have trouble with spitting and will swallow instead.
If you don’t put too much toothpaste on the toothbrush you won’t have any issues – use a portion no bigger than a grain of rice.
3 years old – Increase the portion of toothpaste you use to the size of a pea, as your child should now be spitting with ease.
Look out for red, swollen gums or signs of plaque (a white film over their teeth) – these are symptoms you are not brushing their teeth properly. If you need any assistance in knowing how to improve your technique, speak with your Dentist.
6 years old – Your child should begin brushing their teeth themselves. Just follow our tips below on how to easily make this a regular part of their routine.
5 Tips to Help with Brushing your Kids Teeth
Getting your kids to brush your teeth doesn’t have to be a chore, or a repetitive process of asking them “Have you brushed your teeth?”. Try making it more fun for them, by;
Being a good role model
When your children are young, they adore you. Your little boy can’t wait until he can grow a beard and shave like Dad, your little girl can’t wait until she has makeup like Mums.
You’ve probably noticed similarities in the way they speak, behave, or even sit.
So make sure you set a good example for them by having a good dental care routine. Allow them to watch you, making sure you do everything you need your child to do – brush, floss, and brush your tongue.
Ensure they notice how proud you are of the good job you’ve done by smiling brightly at yourself in the mirror afterwards.
Teaching your child about dental health
Educating your kid on why it is so important for them to brush their teeth may make a massive difference.
For help explaining it in a way they can easily understand, ask your Dentist – they’ll always be happy to assist when it comes to the health of someone’s teeth.
There are also great books you can buy, such as Brush Your Teeth, Please, a fun pop-up book that will teach your child all about dental hygiene.
Practise until perfect
Sometimes, your child might need help knowing what they are doing is right.
Sometimes, they just don’t want to do the chore because they find it boring. One way you can make this task seem fun is to let them practise – on you.
If you don’t like the thought of this, let them practise on their toys instead – such as a stuffed animal or doll.
Need more practise? The Baby Alive Brushy Brushy Baby Doll comes with a toothbrush and a tube of pretend toothpaste! Now, that sounds like fun!
Rewarding your kids
Purchase or make a Rewards Chart for your child.
Every morning and night after your child has completed their tooth brushing routine, treat them like a champion. Reward their good behaviour by allowing them to place a sticker on their Chart.
If they fill their Rewards Chart – usually either a full week or a month of stickers – then give your child an even bigger reward, like a toy, or trip to their favourite place.
Turning teeth brushing into a game
There are several ways you can turn teeth brushing into a game for your kids. Make up a story – for example, you can tell your child about an imaginary enemy inside their mouth that attacks their teeth.
Make your child the superhero, the only one that can stop this enemy – they must defend their teeth by using their toothbrush and toothpaste. You can even tie a cape around them whilst they brush their teeth, so they feel like a real-life superhero!
If you use this method, just be mindful that you don’t go too over-the-top and scare them – you don’t want them having nightmares!
If your kid likes to dance, another method you can use is to turn on some tunes whilst you brush your teeth and have a dance party! There is a free app for your iPhone or Android known as the Brush DJ.
We all know that you should brush your teeth for two minutes, so this app will play two minutes of music and visual distraction whilst they brush their teeth – before you know it, teeth brushing might become your kids favourite event of the day!
If you don’t have the suitable phone or don’t want to use an app, try using an hourglass and turn teeth brushing into a contest – brush your teeth with your child, or if you have more than one, race them against each other, to see who can brush their teeth for the longest. This bright Sand Timer looks like a lot of fun!
If your child stops brushing before two minutes, they don’t get their Rewards sticker.
Still Not Working?
If the “fun stuff” is not working, we do have some other tips for you. You can try;
Having them perform more of the task – Has your child reached that age where they think they are old enough to do everything themselves?
If they want to drink from the big cup, or choose their own clothes, they’ve begun gaining their own independence. This can be used to your advantage when it comes to tooth brushing – have them find their toothpaste and toothbrush and have them put the toothpaste on.
They’re going to make mistakes, they’re probably going to make mess, but… “practise makes perfect!”.
A different type of toothpaste – The shelves at your chemist or grocery store are packed to the brim of different toothpastes that are made especially for children.
Just like you, kids might have a certain flavour they don’t like. Try changing it for a toothpaste that has their favourite character on it, and they will look forward to using it!
From Sponge Bob to Elsa, or basically any Disney character you can think of, it’s easy to find a toothpaste that your child will like. These toothpastes also come in a variety of fun flavours like Bubble Gum!
Tooth brushing posters or Teeth Cleaning Toolkits – You can ask your Dentist for a good tooth brushing Poster that you can hang in the bathroom, or even download or buy one online.
These will go over the rules of how your child should brush your teeth. Sesame Street has also provided a Teeth Cleaning Toolkit – this comes with some videos and games you can play with your child, as well as some downloads such as certificates and colouring-in-books, all designed to increase their knowledge in dental health.
Whatever you do, just stick to your schedule – I know it can be very tempting to let your kid skip a day here or there.
However, you must start a routine and stick to it. The sooner tooth brushing becomes part of your child’s day to day life, the sooner you drop the battle of the brushes, as tooth brushing just becomes second nature to them.
Kids with good dental hygiene habits turn into adults with good dental hygiene habits.
Have you come up with a dental routine that works for your youngster? Share it with our community in the comments below.
By Andrew Adams
Created at August 08, 2019, Updated at March 06, 2020