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5 Tips for Parents Dealing with Kids Who Won’t Brush Their Teeth

added on: September 8, 2023

It’s not uncommon for kids to resist or even refuse to brush their teeth. This can leave parents feeling frustrated and defeated. However, maintaining good oral hygiene habits is crucial for kids’ health. So what can you do? If you find yourself struggling to get your kids to brush their teeth, here are five tried-and-true tips from your pediatric dentist in Tucson that can help.

  • Make Brushing Fun

Let your kids know that brushing their teeth doesn’t have to be a boring chore. It can actually be a fun daily activity. Start with fun, educational tools such as online videos, books, or interactive play that show how important dental care is in a way that resonates with your child. From there, head to the sink to put your learnings into action. Use colorful toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste. Play a toothbrushing song or create a “toothbrushing dance.” Incorporating playfulness can make the experience more appealing and exciting. 

  • Let Them Pick Out Their Toothbrush

On a similar note, allowing your child to pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste at the store can give them a sense of ownership over the process and may make them more excited to use their chosen tools. Be sure to offer options that are dentist-approved for their age. Your pediatric dentist in Tucson can help you choose the best toothbrush and toothpaste for kids. 

  • Create a Reward System

Positive reinforcement can work wonders in helping a little one develop a brushing routine. Create a reward chart where your child earns a sticker or a small treat every time they successfully brush their teeth – for two minutes each time, cleaning the front, back, chewing surfaces, and along the gum line. After accumulating a certain number of stickers, they could receive a special reward or outing. This helps make toothbrushing a goal-oriented activity.

  • Set a Consistent Routine

Speaking of routines, children often thrive when there’s a routine in place that they’ve learned and know. This tends to work well when it comes to brushing their teeth. Incorporate toothbrushing into their daily schedule, such as after breakfast and before bedtime. When they know what to expect, it becomes a natural part of their day, reducing resistance over time.

  • Lead by Example

Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so make sure you’re also taking great care of your teeth and that your kids notice. Consider making brushing a family affair and show them that everyone, regardless of age, brushes their teeth regularly. When kids see their role models participating, they’re more likely to join in.

Convincing a child to brush their teeth can be a challenging endeavor, but it’s one that’s important for their oral and overall health. It’s important to remember that kids often resist new habits because they’re unfamiliar or seem like a disruption to their routine. Be patient and understanding throughout the process. If they miss a brushing session occasionally, gently remind them of the routine without scolding them.

In cases where your child’s resistance persists despite your best efforts, consult your pediatric dentist in Tucson. They can offer guidance tailored to your child’s specific needs and may recommend techniques or products that could make the experience more appealing.