When it comes to your smile, no matter whether you are 5 or 55, you need to be brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. Teaching your child the importance of cleaning their teeth daily for the rest of their lives will help them keep their pearly whites healthy for a lifetime.
Getting your child on board early on means making it a fun task for them instead of a chore. Incorporating simple ways to get your child to look forward to this time of day will help them brush twice a day for two minutes each time. You can enlist their cooperation with smiles, not scowls!
Make Daily Oral Hygiene a Blast
Let your little one pick their child-sized toothbrush at the store with their favorite character, hero or color. You can get a sticker kit so they can decorate their toothbrush, or get them a toothbrush that lights up and blinks while they clean, or one that plays music for two minutes to help them brush the right amount of time. Top this off with their favorite flavored toothpaste they pick out themselves, whether it’s bubble gum, fruity flavors, or fresh mint.
Let the Brushing Begin!
Set a funny egg timer to brush until the sand reaches the bottom. You can join them by brushing your teeth with them, play a song they like, or have them sing to their toothbrush “microphone” while brushing and make funny faces in the bathroom mirror. The idea is to show them that the important task of cleaning their teeth every day doesn’t have to be dull or boring!
Sing Some Tunes
Make songs together, like this one that you sing to the tune of the “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” song:
Twinkle, twinkle, little tooth,
Brush your teeth and floss them, too,
Gently up and gently down,
Keep your teeth clean, no more frowns.
Twinkle, twinkle, little tooth,
Now your smile shines bright like you!
Other games include letting your child brush their doll (or stuffed animal’s) teeth while you brush their little chompers. Cheer as they clean their teeth when sections are done: “Yaaaay, the top row is sparkling!” or “Those bottom teeth are bright like the sun!” You can also reward their efforts by letting them pick a book to read after brushing. Make this fun so they feel good while spending this important time with you.
– The free Brush DJ app plays songs for two minutes, exactly how long they should be brushing.
– The Heroes of Hygiene app turns cleaning into a game to keep your child’s attention for two minutes; they can even choose the character they like best as their partner-in-brushing.
– Oral-B Disney Magic Timer has 23 of your child’s favorite characters from Disney, Marvel or Star Wars. They can get a new digital sticker after their two minutes of brushing and keep track of their progress with stars and badges.
Make Flossing Fun
As soon as two teeth touch as your child’s teeth come in, they should be flossed to keep plaque away. Until their hand-eye coordination is developed, you’ll need to help or floss for them until they can do it. The good news is even flossing can be fun!
Egg Carton Mouth: Turn a plain egg carton into “teeth.” Gather an empty egg carton, white paint, play dough and dental floss. After painting the egg carton white, you can fold it in half so that it looks like a mouth with top and bottom rows of teeth. Next, stick some pieces of play dough randomly between the teeth. Challenge your child to use the dental floss to get the playdough out of the teeth.
Reinforcing How Brushing and Flossing Work
Play the Nutella and Rubber Gloves Plaque Game where you show your child how hard it is to get rid of plaque (hazelnut spread) on their teeth (a rubber glove). Hand them a toothbrush and flossing tool and let them clean it off. When they’re done, tell them this is exactly what they are doing every time they clean their teeth!
You might be surprised at how fun your child can be when practicing this life-changing habit. Together, you can help them fall in love with this daily oral hygiene care that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Please give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s smile!