How to Get Your Children to Love Their Dental Care Routine—The Easy Way!

Getting your child to perform routine hygiene tasks like brushing their teeth can be pretty frustrating, especially when the child is still too young to understand why it's so important. Fortunately, young children are easily able to learn new habits, at least if they have a little help from their parents. If you start some dental care routines with your children when they're still very young, they will have a good basis for maintaining great habits in the future. Here are a few tips on getting your children to adopt some new dental care habits with enthusiasm.

Inserting Individuality into Dental Care

Kids love feeling like they're grown up, and choosing their own dental care supplies can encourage that feeling of maturity. Talk to your pediatric dentist about what toothbrush size and bristle firmness to look for, and then take your child to the grocery store or drugstore and give them a whole range of toothbrushes to choose from.

Your child can choose nearly any color of toothbrush imaginable, and maybe even choose some colored bristles while they're at it. While you're toothbrush shopping, look for a toothpaste that captures your child's attention. Some of the kid–friendly flavors include bubblegum, peach, or vanilla mint. If the flavor your child chooses is something you're not sure they'll like, consider buying a travel size of the selected flavor to make sure it's worth buying a full size in the future.

Having special supplies like a flashy new toothbrush and flavor-packed toothpaste may actually make your child excited to brush their teeth (just don't let them swallow the toothpaste!). At the very least, having special dental supplies will likely lessen their resistance to brushing.

Earning Frequent Brusher Rewards

One of the main reasons that children may not be especially interested in brushing their teeth is that it isn't an immediate gratification thing. Sure, teeth brushing has great benefits for long term oral health, but those rewards aren't easy to see in the eyes of a child.

Use some "frequent brusher" rewards to keep your child interested and motivated about their oral health.  A calendar in the bathroom can be filled with fun stickers to monitor brushing. Kids should use the "2 x 2" rule for brushing: two minutes, twice a day. Every day that your child meets that goal, they earn two stickers on the calendar.

Allow your child to put the stickers on the calendar themselves to really feel a sense of accomplishment. Some children may respond even better if you offer them an extra sticker to put on their hand or keep in a special sticker album. After a week of daily two-star brushing, offer a special reward like a small toy or other fun item.

If your child feels like a grown-up with his or her own dental supplies and gets fun rewards for using those supplies, a new dental care routine is likely to be a hit. Let your children's dentist in on the new dental care routine, too. The dentist may be amazed at what a difference they see at your child's next exam!