December 26, 2022
5 Tips for Teaching Kids to Brush
It’s important to start good oral health habits at an early age. Like most other important things that pertain to wellbeing, the earlier a child incorporates an action into their regular routine, the more likely it is to stay with them for the rest of their lives. This can be important when a habit can directly impact their health, such as brushing their teeth. Teaching kids to brush their teeth is one of the most important gifts you can give them. Good oral hygiene can help them for decades to come. You can use these five tips for teaching kids how to brush to help set your kids on their own journey to dental health:
Know the Proper Way to Brush TeethTeaching kids to brush their teeth starts with knowing how to brush teeth the correct way yourself. Remember, you and your child should both brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, and adhere to the following:
Use the Right ToothpasteChoose a child-friendly toothpaste intended for young kids. For children under the age of three, it is recommended you use a rice-sized smear of toothpaste. For children three and over, you can use a pea-sized portion.
Hold the Brush at a 45-Degree AngleThe toothbrush bristles should be pointed at the gums of the lower or upper teeth, depending on which side you are brushing.
Brush Back and Forth in Short StrokesDo this for all four “quadrants” of your teeth: upper front surface, lower front surface, upper back surface, and lower back surface. Don’t forget to be sure you are covering all the teeth, side to side, top to bottom, inside and out, holding the toothbrush vertically when brushing your front.
Give Your Tongue a BrushA thorough tongue brushing removes bacteria from its surface and is a secret for fresher breath and a healthier mouth!
Encourage Kids to Brush Their TeethKids can be willful when it comes to activities they’ve decided not to do. To circumvent arguments and tears over tooth brushing, start out by making brushing their teeth fun. If they look forward to giving their teeth a scrub, they’ll choose to do it without a fight!
- Let kids pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Give your child agency in the process so they can feel invested in the outcome. Let them choose a fun toothbrush and a child-friendly toothpaste in their favorite flavor.
- Brush along with them. Encourage your kids to brush by letting them brush with you. Set a timer and turn it into two minutes of fun! You can even add in games, like who has the shiniest teeth at the end. (Be prepared to lose. Letting them win from time to time is a great way to get them looking forward to the next “contest”.)
- Compliment them when they do well. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful way to give your children support. They’ll flourish under your compliments and want to brush again.
- Use a sticker chart. If your child is especially resistant to brushing, consider a sticker chart to reward them for their cooperation. When they’ve filled up the chart, consider a bonus such as a small toy, a healthy snack, or a trip to the park.
- Turn up the music. Everything can be more fun with music! Let your child choose a song as a backdrop to two minute brushing.