When it comes to kids brushing their teeth, we at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry know that, well, sometimes they’re not up for it. So how can you encourage kids who don’t brush their teeth well or often enough?
As your pediatric dentist in Missouri City, TX, we have a few tips for making teeth brushing fun. Here, Dr. Kristi Parker and The Beach House team offer 6 ways you can get your kids to brush their teeth… and start a habit of great oral health!
1. Brush Teeth to a Two-Minute Song
How long should kids brush their teeth? The American Dental Association recommends two minutes. That’s how long it takes to brush every surface of every tooth to get rid of plaque, food debris, and bacteria. In fact, a 2019 systematic review in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that when people brush their teeth for two minutes, they remove twice as much plaque as when they brush for just one minute.
Now, we understand that two minutes of brushing can be hard for kids to stick with. For preschool kids especially, two minutes seems like a lifetime. Our first suggestion? Use music to make two minutes seem like two seconds. If your child has a favorite song, hit play and brush away!
For kids who don’t have a favorite song, choose a fun, kid-friendly song about brushing your teeth like:
- “The is the Way We Brush Our Teeth” from Little Baby Bum
- “We Gotta be Clean” by Guster
- “Kids Just Love to Brush” from Sesame Street
2. Download a Kids’ Toothbrushing Timer App for Brushing Teeth
We use apps for everything nowadays, so why not use one for making teeth brushing fun? You’ll be glad to know several kids’ tooth brushing timer apps exist that count out two minutes in a fun way — and have added features like games and reminders.
Not sure which will work for making teeth brushing fun at your house? Check out:
- Disney Magic Timer by Oral-B – Android and iOS – With younger kids, anything Disney, Marvel or Star Wars is almost a surefire hit. For kids who don’t brush their teeth well or often, this app might be what wins them over. If you use certain Oral-B products, scan their barcodes to unlock stickers in the app.
- Brush DJ – Android and iOS – This app works with the music from your device/phone, streaming service or music on your cloud. Put together a special brushing playlist and use other features like: reminders for flossing daily, brushing your teeth twice a day, and visiting your dentist.
- Chomper Chums – Android and iOS – Looking for how to make brushing teeth fun for toddlers? Chomper Chums helps beginner tooth-brushers brush for two minutes. Chomper Chums also has animal characters to make learning how to brush your teeth fun for littles.
3. Making Teeth Brushing Fun With A Game
We’ve found that games are a great answer for adding excitement to brushing:
Copycat – Set a timer for 30 seconds and have your child brush one quadrant of their mouth for that amount of time. When the timer goes off, make a silly face they have to copy. Repeat for all four sections of their mouth to reach your two-minute brushing goal!
Superhero Story Time – Your child is a superhero tasked with banishing the Sugar Bugs from their teeth. Set a timer for two minutes, and get your child attacking those Sugar Bugs with their trusty toothbrush.
4. Sticker Chart & Rewards
Let’s be honest, external rewards are great motivators for kids. So a sticker chart for completing two-minute teeth-brushing sessions? It will turn kids who don’t brush their teeth into oral hygiene superstars. We suggest setting the time span by age: toddlers might be more excited to participate for a small, weekly prize, while older kids can focus on brushing and flossing for a whole month to claim a big reward.
5. Let Your Kids Choose Their Own Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss
Allow your kids to choose their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss at the store. With dental hygiene tools they like, even kids who don’t brush their teeth are more willing to get into the habit.
You’ll find that kids’ toothbrushes come in a wide range of colors and sizes, and feature many different characters. Some even have suction cups on the bottom or flashing timer lights. As for toothpaste, we’re sure your child will find a favorite among the many fruit flavored, kid-friendly options. And dental floss? If your little ones finds flossing hard, floss picks work well for smaller hands.
6. Bring Along A Tooth Buddy
This is great for making teeth brushing fun for toddlers. Let your wee one bring their favorite stuffy or a special “tooth buddy” to tooth-brushing time. Your child can have fun brushing their stuffy’s teeth, then saying, “Ahhh” to let you brush their teeth. Taking care of a stuffy’s teeth can also teach your child the importance of keeping teeth sparkling clean.
More Tips From Your Missouri City Pediatric Dentist
As your expert pediatric dentist in Missouri City and surrounding areas of Sugar Land, Pearland and Houston, TX, Dr. Parker and The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry Team know kids’ teeth. We also know what makes a fun, safe, and friendly dental care environment for your little ones.
Contact us today to find out more ideas on how to make brushing teeth fun for kids or to set up your next appointment.