Kids are all about fun and games, so it isn’t surprising that they’re less than excited about doing chores and attending to responsibilities. Of course, this same attitude also applies when it’s time to brush their teeth. It’s hard to blame them, though: having a brush in your mouth can feel a bit awkward, even more so for children.
If they forgo this vital hygiene routine, however, they will develop carries that can cause tooth aches and even premature tooth loss. If you’re dealing with a reluctant brusher, Dr. Trey Kenna—one of the leading dentists in Greensville, SC and owner of the Downtown Dental practice—offers the following tips to frustrated parents:
Don’t Make It a Pre-Bedtime Ritual
For many kids, brushing their teeth is the last thing they do before hitting the sack. Sometimes, though, they dawdle along this task not because they dislike brushing but because they dread the moment when you turn off the lights. To avoid this, have them brush their teeth shortly after dinner instead (and remind them that the bogeyman doesn’t exist).
Tell ‘Em a Story
One of the best ways to encourage tooth brushing is to explain its importance to your child. Unfortunately, terms like “cavities” or “plaque” will simply fly over their heads. A better approach is to tell them a simple-to-understand story that visualizes the effects of not brushing. For instance, you may say tell them that sugar bugs will make holes in their teeth unless they are removed by a tooth brush.
Help Them Finish Up
Young children often don’t clean their teeth very thoroughly, so you might need to render “cleanup work” once they’re done brushing. This informative article from Aha! Parenting offers a useful tip for this scenario:
Most toddlers aren’t able to do a thorough job and most parents want to “help” them a bit at the end. This is the tricky part, because most humans hate having someone else stick things in their mouth. Try to make this part more palatable by limiting the time (using a song, counting, etc.), or making it a game. A common game that is often successful is to chase things in her mouth. So you might say you see a giraffe or a tiger in there that you have to catch. Some people talk about sugar bugs (germs). I personally liked the game of “Oooh, you had rice tonight, didn’t you? Let’s get that rice off your teeth! I see apples!” etc.
However, don’t forget that tooth brushing is just one part of your child’s dental health. For optimal results, schedule regular checkups with a trusted pediatric dentist in Greenville, SC as well.
(Source: How To Get Toddler To Brush teeth, Aha! Parenting)