How do I get my kids to brush their teeth?

By Sasha Curry

A self-care routine and the ways in which we develop healthy habits are generally learned, refined, and hopefully maintained over time. As adults, we have the added luxury of leaning into an oral health care regime that albeit frustrating at times, is one that has been built over the span of our lives, complimented by regularity, and hopefully, consistency. 

Teaching your children how to care for their teeth can at times feel like re-learning how to brush your own teeth, all over again. The major difference, however, is that now you are looking to harness the interest of a wild little mind that would likely prefer that their toothbrush was made out of candy. 

The question is, how do you get your kids to find the same excitement in caring for the health of their teeth and gums, as their halloween candy?

Let’s have a look at some of the strategies you might choose to implement along with some recommendations from our experts at M-Street Dental. 

It’s all about flavour

As adults, many of us revel in the minty fresh aftertaste that follows brushing with toothpaste products that leave us with that hallmark clean feeling zing. Much like the glow on the face of someone who enjoys black licorice, this doesn’t always translate well for the taste buds of our children. The goal is for our kids to find the task of caring for their teeth more approachable, and dare we say, perhaps exciting. One simple way to achieve ease in the department of taste is to purchase a few different flavors at once. 

One common misconception is that children’s flavored toothpastes fails to yield the same results as their minty equivalents, however, many reliable toothpaste manufacturers have developed flavors like bubblegum, watermelon, and strawberry–to name a few. Flavors such as these can make teeth brushing time less of a struggle, while offering the same benefits for you children's oral health 

We recommend letting your kids pick the flavors they feel like they’d enjoy. Children love to be a part of these decisions, and believe it or not, this is a very simple way to make the task of brushing your kids teeth, well, less of a task.

Lead by example

Many of us have memories from our childhoods of adults brushing their teeth, going through a skincare routine, combing their hair, and everything in between. As we get older, we tend to forget the impact these moments had on developing interest and maintaining our own wellness routine. 

This is a perfect opportunity to have some fun with your kids, and maybe even get a little silly while you share with them what your routine looks like. Put on a show while you go through your flossing and brushing regime. If you’re up for it, exaggerate your brush strokes so your children can really get an idea behind the mechanics of a quality routine. 

Once you’ve finished up, proudly show off your beautiful smile so your kids know this is not just an exercise in disciplined regularity, but a routine they can feel great about!

Another useful exercise you may want to include, is letting your children practice on your teeth. Kids love the idea of getting to be a part of your routine. This can be super helpful when it comes to getting your kids excited about their own oral health practices. 

What else?

Getting your kids to brush their teeth is a prime example of the role parents play as supportive liaisons in the development of healthy habits and routines. Like most things child rearing, this can be difficult at times, and a real breeze at others. There is no end to the number of creative ways we can motivate our kids to build and maintain great oral care. 

Children love games. Try game-ifying the experience by giving clever names to the leftover food in their teeth “that must be eradicated from their mouth-ly kingdom!” Or, perhaps you’ll find time where together you can choreograph a fun song or dance to make an exciting ritual out of brushing their teeth. 

In summation, we encourage you to keep things light and fun as you explore your imagination for enjoyable ways to incentivize your child's oral care. Consistency is absolutely critical for the wellbeing of all of our teeth. Try your best to include strategies that speak to longevity. After all, one day, your kids will be all grown up brushing their own teeth, and perhaps, sharing that knowledge with their children. Incorporate what will last the test of time. 

From everyone at M Street Dental,

Stay smiling!

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