Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Getting Your Child To Brush Their Teeth

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published April 26, 2019

Getting your child to wake up from their slumber, dressed, fed, and out the door (without forgetting something) makes for a challenging morning. Repeating the chaos at bedtime makes for an exhausting day. On top of that, you’ve most likely heard, “I don’t want to” or “Do I have to” countless times from your little one. Finding an extra four minutes a day to keep your child’s teeth clean seems like an impossible mission, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Developing a fun routine and understanding the benefits can help you get your child to brush their teeth twice a day, every day. That’s something to smile about!

Get Your Child in the Routine of Brushing Their Teeth

Set A Time

Have you ever intended to do something only to later remember you forgot to do it? Has your son or daughter? Choosing a dedicated time for your child to brush their teeth is a good place to start. Think about a typical morning. What happens before your child leaves the house? They wake up, eat breakfast, bathe, get dressed, put on shoes. How about before going to bed? They eat dinner, read a book, pick up their room (you can only hope). Set one of those actions as a trigger for your child to brush their teeth. For example: after eating breakfast, I will brush my teeth. After taking a bath or shower, I will brush my teeth.

Pick a Fun Activity

Setting a time might not be enough. Creating a fun activity for your child as they brush their teeth will keep them engaged and coming back for more. Cranking up their favorite song, having a two minute dance party, or making it story time are all great ways to keep your child excited about dental hygiene. Everyone loves using a toothbrush as a microphone!

Don’t Miss Twice

The goal is to get your child to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day. Waking up late and rushing out the door might mean your child misses brushing their teeth. Or maybe they had an exhausting day of school, sports and activities and fall asleep before the dance party. Instead of thinking you or your child has failed, make it a goal to not miss twice. Use this calendar to stay on track. Maybe your child skips brushing their teeth because they don’t like the taste of the toothpaste, or the bristles are too stiff. Getting them set up with the right tools can ensure they stay interested.

Join the Fun

You are setting a good example of maintaining a healthy smile when you join your kids as they brush their teeth. It is a simple activity that will start and end their day on a positive note!

Why Brushing Teeth is Important for Your Child

Eating, Speaking, Learning

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that untreated tooth decay can lead to serious complications in a child’s eating, speaking and learning. Students with poor oral health miss class more often and their grades suffer compared to children with good oral health.

Future Health

Getting your child to brush their teeth goes beyond curing bad breath in the moment. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause complications throughout the body. When kids brush their teeth, they are reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease, protecting brain cells, and decreasing cancer risks.

Basic Brushing Instructions

Once you have success in getting the toothbrush in your child’s hand consistently, it’s important to be sure they are brushing their teeth effectively. See our tips for basic brushing instructions and have fun as you prepare your child’s smile ready for the world!

Contact The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa

We understand that getting your child to brush their teeth can be difficult. We are always here to answer your questions and help kick-start your child’s healthy brushing habits. Call or visit our Ankeny and West Des Moines offices to talk to our skilled staff or dentists. Remember to schedule their dental appointments!