How to Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Kids

How to Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Kids

Dental health tools have come a long way over the past several decades, especially for kids. There are a variety of toothpaste flavors like strawberry, bubblegum, and watermelon - some with sparkles and mini stars in the paste - and colorful toothbrushes light up, spin, vibrate, play music, have timers, and are decorated as cartoon and superhero characters. So, how could oral care for kids not be fun?

While children may get excited about a visit from the tooth fairy, and discovering a little monetary surprise under their pillow that makes losing their baby teeth fun, they may groan when it’s time to maintain their pearly whites. Here are some ideas and activities to experiment with to help your child or grandchild get excited about brushing his or her teeth.

Let Kids Choose the Toothbrush, Floss, and Toothpaste

This is where the fun begins! Next time you go shopping, have your child select the toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Toddlers love copying their parents, so consider buying matching toothbrushes to inspire your child to mimic you. Try getting a toothbrush for your child’s favorite doll, stuffed animal, or action hero and encourage your child to brush their “teeth” together. Replace toothbrushes every three months and consider buying a new one when your child gets sick.

Sticker Rewards

As your child is learning about their daily routine of dental hygiene, a reward system might help keep them on track. Each day, after your child brushes and flosses, put a sticker on the calendar. Then, at the end of the week, have your child choose a previously agreed upon reward. This could be a family bonding activity, such as selecting a board game the family can play together. Offer a bigger reward at the end of the month, like a special sweet treat, being able to stay up a little later at night, or a family outing at the movies.

Download a Toothbrushing App

Technology has made its way into almost every aspect of our lives, including the bathroom where we brush our teeth. Toothbrush apps have proved to be a hit with kids and there are dozens of options to choose from. The majority of apps function as toothbrush timers that encourage kids to brush along for at least the recommended two minutes to music or an on-screen game while accruing points for a successful brush.

Make up a Song or Story

Tell a story to your kids about how they can defeat the bacteria and bits of food that can cause tooth decay. Select one of many children’s picture books about going to the dentist and tooth brushing that will make talking and reading to your child about oral hygiene a fun bonding experience.

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Further reading:

Can I Get Dental and Vision Included in My Health Insurance Plan?
Aging & Dental Health 10 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids