Healthy teeth are important for a number of reasons: they’re better for your overall health, cheaper (less charges for dental work!), and can make your smile look great. They’re also a lifelong endeavor that should start at a very early age. The American Dental Association recommends that parents start brushing their kids’ teeth as soon as they are in and take them to visit the dentist after their first birthday.
How do you make all that work “stick”? How do you keep your kids want to brush their teeth? How can you help your kids have a healthy smile for life? This is one case where taking away TV privileges or sending them to their room won’t work—and can lead to a fear of the dentist as they get older.
Instead, make it your goal to make teeth brushing fun for your kids. Use these tricks to make your kids look fun to brushing their teeth—and make it a lifelong healthy habit.
App-ly the fun.
Make tablets and computers a tool in your quest to make brushing fun for your kids. They are, after all, a source of fun to your kids! Use these fun videos or download one of these cool apps to make brushing for two minutes fun.
Make it a game.
Brushing teeth should never feel like a chore. If you have a toddler or a preschooler, use games to make brushing a fun part of the routine. Use an egg timer to make brushing teeth exciting (gotta make it until it goes off) and ensure that your kids are brushing for a full two minutes. If you don’t have a timer, use a radio or music player with a funny two-minute song to get them brushing.
Another fun brushing game involves both of you (and gives you the opportunity to model good brushing habits!). It’s an incredibly simple game: you brush a little, then your child brushes. Put another way, “I brushed here, how about you?” Continue challenging your child until you’ve both brushed every part of your mouth.
Get their favorite stuffed friend in on the fun.
When that game is done, include their favorite stuffed animal in their nightly routine. Use another toothbrush (without toothpaste) to brush their favorite teddy bear, doll, penguin, or any other stuffed animal in on healthy teeth. When it’s time to head to the dentist, bring that stuffed animal along to the visit (and make sure you choose a kid-friendly dentist that allows them to come along).
Make it a life lesson.
Reading is for kids’ minds. Brushing is good for their teeth. Accomplish both goals by picking up fun books about visiting the dentist and teeth brushing. Include those books into your book line-up for a sneaky (and enjoyable!) life lesson.
Take them shopping.
Kids tend to get more excited about activity when they play an active role in it. Talk your kids shopping with you to choose tooth brushes, tooth pastes, and flossers that they want to brush in. Your kids’ll love to pick out tooth brushes and tooth pastes with their favorite characters and colors.