Make Teeth Brushing Fun: Tips From Your Family Dentist

As a family dentist office, we are often asked by parents what they can do to make teeth brushing fun.  We get it – most kids have better things to do than brush their teeth, or so they think.  With friends to play with, movies to watch, homework, etc. there is always something to grab their attention.  The challenge is that if they don’t slow down long enough to brush their teeth and do it correctly, they may develop cavities and gum disease as a result.  While we can clean their teeth and help to prevent this, brushing and flossing at home is still important and the first step in preventative care.  With that in mind, we are always looking for ways to make brushing more fun for everyone.

The American Dental Association has provided some useful information and tools on their website that we thought we would share with you. They have an entire site dedicated to providing resources for parents and there you can find a rewards chart.  This can be a fun and encouraging tool for your kids.  After all, most kids like getting an extra treat.  Since we don’t advocate for eating extra sugar, you can always offer them something like a fifteen-minute extension on bedtime or extra TV time.  Regardless of what the reward is, this creates a positive association between brushing teeth and something good happening, which is far more effective than simply asking them to do it.

Simultaneously, if your kids are brushing, they need to brush correctly and for the full two minutes.  The ADA has tools for this as well.  There is a section on their website with two-minute video clips that feature some popular cartoons like Adventure Time.  All you have to do is pull out your smartphone or tablet and play the video while they brush their teeth.  It’s that easy and all of a sudden the dreaded bedtime routine will become tension-free.  By playing a video of something they enjoy watching, you can create a positive experience that they can actually look forward to.  As a family dentist, we like this tool because it teaches kids how to brush their teeth for the full two minutes.  This is important for preventing cavities.  If they don’t brush long enough, they are probably leaving a lot of bacteria and plaque on their teeth, increasing the risk of an infection.  As such, by increasing their teeth brushing time, your kids may prevent the ever so common toothache.

You can try other things like blasting their favorite song in the morning for two minutes at a time.  This is another fun way to get them to brush, and it may also lighten up their mood when the cobwebs are hard to shake.  You can even make a game out of it in the morning by changing who gets to pick the teeth brushing song.  While simple, this is all part of establishing a healthy routine that will stick with them throughout their lifetime.  As a family dentist, our goal is to ensure that you and your family stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and this is one way to do so.

Darlene De La Paz