How to Deal with Kids who Don’t Want to Brush Their Teeth
At some point, most young children are bound to go on a strike against brushing their teeth. This is a very frustrating time for parents, since brushing teeth is so crucial to kids’ health. There can be many causes of kids resisting to brush their teeth, so it is important to identify those specific reasons and get your kids back on track with good dental hygiene.
Why Your Children Are Resisting
Sometimes your kids will fight brushing their teeth due to sensory issues. At this age, new teeth are erupting, which means there is a possibility that their gums are tender and sensitive. If it’s a hypersensitivity issue (low tolerance for certain tastes, sounds, or sensations), using an index finger wrapped in gauze serves as an alternative for a toothbrush, while alleviating these concerns.
It is known that children will strive to be independent, which includes not listening to Mom and Dad’s orders to brush their teeth. Simply, it may be that your child is resenting brushing their teeth because they are constantly being “forced” to. Instead of forcing them to follow your orders, get into the process of letting them think that they are making this beneficial decision on their own. You can do this by working as a team, this way, they slowly learn to do it on their own. While brushing together, ask your child what they want to brush first. “Top row or bottom row? Left side or right side?” Essentially, you are letting them know that they are in charge of whether their mouths get clean and receive proper oral care.
Sometimes kids want to be just like Mom and Dad, so take advantage of this and model good oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing twice daily. Say the steps of the process out loud, as well as admire your teeth in the mirror afterward, letting them know you are proud of the healthy smile you have achieved.
How to Make Brushing Fun
Turn this seemingly “boring” (in kids’ eyes) process into an exciting daily routine! Approach this activity as if it is just as fun as any children’s game. Associating the task with the same affection towards playtime will result in your child enjoying brush time.
- Play their favorite song and have a bathroom dance party!
- Choose a shorter song, similar to the length of proper brush time (This can include flossing, too!)
- Make or print out a Brushing/Flossing Sticker Chart and reward them with a sticker to add to the chart every time they execute proper oral care.
- Let them pick out a fun toothbrush (one with their favorite superhero, etc.) and toothpaste (try a new flavor– fruit, bubblegum, etc.)
- Brush as a family, bring it into your routine
Regardless of perfect technique (for now), it is most important to just instill the habit of twice-daily brushing. Practice makes perfect! So for now, mainly focus on the development of a daily morning and nighttime routine, and ingrain the healthy, super beneficial habit of a lifetime.
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5th Annual Give Kids A Smile Day!
Friday, February 1st, 2019
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