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Sometimes, getting kids to brush their teeth feels more like pulling teeth. So if you’re experiencing a high level of insubordination in the ranks, you’re not alone. Getting kids to brush is well worth the effort: tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting folks 6-11. Here are 10 tips to make the brushing process more fun for your fam (and for you!).
Make it a game
Who doesn’t like a little bit of healthy competition? Set up a countdown timer that they can see while they brush and set it to two minutes. Their challenge? Don’t stop brushing their whole mouth before time runs out! Have them change their brushing “zone” every 30 seconds – this will guarantee they reach all areas of the mouth and also divide the brushing time into even more manageable little chunks.
Play a favorite song while you brush
There’s nothing like some pump-up tunes to crank up the fun dial and make the time pass faster. Two minutes doesn’t feel so long when you’re rocking out to “Baby Shark” or the Rocky theme – well, not for them, anyway…
Check it off on the calendar or add a gold star on the fridge
It feels good to have a tangible way of measuring progress. Let them cross off each day or apply the star themselves, with an extra for some quality tongue-brushing.
Do it together.
Teamwork makes the dream work. And kids love to mimic the things their parents do anyway (see: cursing). By hitting the sink together, you’ll set a good example, provide them with a brushing buddy, and ensure that you get your daily brushing time in, too. Well spit, that’s a win, win, win.
Dance while you brush
If your kiddos don’t like to sit still, don’t make them – they can wiggle their way to a cleaner mouth (with parental supervision, of course).
Add a healthy little reward for every week of consecutive brushing
A little tooth-mas bonus can go a long way towards establishing a rapport with your young brusher. A special, healthy snack every week might make them start to view brushing in a brighter light (or a sweet treat, no judgemint).
Teach proper technique so they understand WHY they’re brushing
Make them feel actively involved in the process by providing context. Get them up to speed on how and why they should brush their teeth, and they may just experience a positive sense of ownership and responsibility.
Stick to positive reinforcement (no shaming for not brushing)
Congratulate them when they brush, but don’t make them feel bad when they miss a session. This will help them view brushing in a positive light and position it as a time to look forward to, not dread.
Have them brush before they’re all dressed for the day to avoid clothing casualties
You want an enthusiastic brusher, not 3 wardrobe changes before 7am. Pro tip: just make sure to have them brush post-breakfast.
Use a toothpaste they think tastes delish
No one likes brushing with a yucky tasting toothpaste – and as we’ve all experienced, kids are particularly sensitive to flavors that they don’t dig. In fact, many kids find mint to be too strong or spicy for their developing palates. Find a tasty toothpaste that they enjoy, and you may find that brushing time just got a whole lot easier. Oh, and in case you weren’t hip to hello, we make naturally friendly toothpastes specifically designed to do away with brush-time negotiations. #brushhappy