Not all toddlers love to have their teeth brushed. In fact, for many parents, tooth brushing at the end of the night is a dreaded chore. Follow these tips to make tooth brushing an experience that you'll both enjoy.
Young children love role-playing games. Play a game with your child that makes you the dentist and your child the patient. Tell your child that you're going to examine their teeth. When your child is ready, say open wide!
Brush your child's teeth as you pretend to examine the gums and tooth enamel. Make comments like you've been doing such a good job brushing your teeth at home and I'm impressed by how straight and white your teeth are!
If your child likes a little drama in their play, you can also pretend to find a cavity. Scrub the cavity down with a toothbrush to help fill it. Explain what a cavity is and why it's important to avoid cavities. When you're done, give your child a sticker for being so good.
Sing a song for the duration of tooth brushing. Let your child pick the song. Do not finish brushing your child's teeth until the song has ended. Not sure which song is best? Try the alphabet song. Your child will learn while getting a teeth cleaning!
If that doesn't work, try singing a pop song that your child might recognize from the radio or TV. Your child will enjoy hearing something that he or she recognizes.
Let Your Child Pick the Products
Every time your child runs out of toothpaste or needs a new toothbrush, let him or her pick the replacement product. Letting them choose their own products makes tooth brushing more exciting and also gives your child some control over the experience. If your child finds a toothbrush that plays music or lights up when it's being used, splurge a little and give it to your child. They will be excited to use their new toothbrush.
You can also keep multiple toothbrushes and multiple kinds of toothpaste on hand for your child to use. Let your child pick between the two brushes and kinds of toothpaste each time to ensure that your child feels like he or she is a part of the process.
Play a Video During Tooth Brushing Time
Allow your child to watch short videos on your smartphone while you brush their teeth. The video gives your child something else to think about while you get the work done. You can let them watch home videos, or consider loading a few short classic cartoons on to your smartphone and allow your child to watch them.
Brush your child's teeth first, then allow your child to brush after you're finished. You can call this practice time, and explain that your child needs to learn how to brush independently. This will help your child feel bigger and more capable, which can make tooth brushing more enjoyable.
Tell a Story
Tell a story every night when brushing your child's teeth. Keep the story very short and entertaining. Use funny voices or sing a song midway through the story to keep the process entertaining.
Work With Your Child's Dentist
It's common for some children to dislike tooth brushing. A dentist who works with children regularly will have lots of ideas for making tooth brushing a more pleasant experience. To find out more about how you can make tooth brushing fun, talk to a family dentist in your area.
At Epps Village Family Dentistry LLC, we help parents get through tooth brushing time. If you have questions about the best ways to help your child learn to love dental hygiene, contact us today.