By Brianne Jones, RDH
Getting a toddler to brush can be quite tricky...here are some fun tips and tricks to help keep their teeth on the healthy track!
One of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to his or her long-term dental health.
Have 4 Minutes of Fun
Don’t just set a timer and supervise – make brushing twice a day for two minutes an event! Crank up your child’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party. Videos or brushing apps may also make that time fly by. (Older children might enjoy the videos on 2min2x.com, and younger brushers might like these.) Try reading a 2-minute story using all your best voices. Whatever you do, get creative and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time.
Start a Routine and Stick to It
You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.
Reward Good Brushing Behavior
What motivates your child? If its stickers, make a reward chart and let him add one every time he brushes. If he’s a reader, let him pick out the bedtime story. Maybe it’s as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.
Who is the character your child can’t get enough of? Many children’s shows and books, including Sesame Street, have stories about brushing. Watch and read them together, so when it’s time to brush you can use that character as a good example.
Make Up a Story
Haven’t found a story or character to inspire your child? Make up your own. Your child just might be the only superhero who can brush away the bad guys that cause cavities.
Let your child pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste. (We recommend ones with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.) Choosing a character toothbrush might make brushing more fun, and fluoride toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and colors.
Sing A Fun Song
Your children learn from you, so set a good example. What's your childs favorite song?! Maybe try making up a fun brushing jingle or play it on your phone or ipad while they brush. Get them to brush the entire length of the song!