This is a sponsored guest post.
Many parents know the grief of the terrible twos and threes. If your toddler is going through their stubborn phase, they’ve likely manifested it in an unwillingness to brush their teeth. Perhaps it’s become harder to wheedle, chide, or convince them about the Tooth Fairy. Perhaps, at this point, you kind of dread brushing time as much as they do.
But as a parent, you shouldn’t lose sight of the goal: to instill good oral hygiene at an early age. The better your toddlers are at brushing their teeth, the safer they’ll be from the onset of tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious dental conditions. Healthy teeth and gums will also earn your kids the approval of their dentist and will also save you time and money on complex dental procedures!
Cease to think of brushing teeth as a tiresome chore and make it a fun and fulfilling task for your toddlers instead. Here are seven great tips to motivate your child, teach them proper brushing form, and help them understand the difference that good oral hygiene makes!
- Make the bathroom sink conducive to brushing. Your toddler may not look forward to brushing because their stance and view aren’t comfortable, to begin with. If so, maybe it’s time to reconfigure your sink area to make it easier for them. Install good lighting in your bathroom, provide a footstool for your toddler, and give them a clear view of the mirror so that they can see their clean and shiny teeth!
- Use a timer. The recommended duration of tooth brushing time for toddlers is a full two minutes. This may seem short to you, but to a toddler, two minutes spent on a boring activity is an eternity. Nevertheless, you can make counting down more fun with a countdown app, a small hourglass, or another timing device. Direct your toddler’s attention to the timer, count down with them and cheer when time’s up.
- Incorporate music and rhythms into your toddler’s brushing routine. An even better alternative to timing with a straightforward device is timing with music. Make a playlist of upbeat, engaging songs for your toddler to brush along to—and you can even time the brushing movements to the beat, as long as you’re thorough!
- Let them choose their toothpaste flavor. Give your toddler a choice between flavors of age-appropriate toothpaste types, such as bubblegum, spearmint, or even watermelon or strawberry. They’ll be more enthusiastic about brushing their teeth with a toothpaste flavor that they like, rather than a default flavor that they find unpleasant. However, make it very clear to your child that toothpaste is NOT for eating.
- Let them pick their toothbrush. Another way to make brushing more fun is to allow your toddler to choose a toothbrush according to their preferences. Every three months or so, you can help them pick out a toothbrush in their favorite colors, in a visually appealing pattern, or with designs featuring their favorite cartoon characters.
- Reward them for their good behavior. A simple incentive may help your toddler understand the value of keeping their teeth clean. Praise them for finishing their brushing routine, especially if they are very thorough. Follow up your praise with a simple reward like a sticker, the choice of story to read with you at bedtime, or the choice of song to play for the next time they’ll brush.
- Be a good example. Toddlers are very impressionable at their age, and they love learning from their parents. Take brushing time as the opportunity to be a role model for your kids. Teach them the basics of good brushing technique, such as brushing up and down and brushing their tongue and gums—you can start by brushing alongside them.
You’ll be glad when tooth brushing changes from a chore into a regular habit for your children. Get your toddlers shining those pearly whites from now until their growing years!
This is a guest post by Dr. Douglas Kim of Chino Hills Family Dentistry, a trusted dentist in Chino Hills and surrounding areas. Aside from providing general, family, and cosmetic dentistry services, Dr. Kim is also passionate about educating parents on how to properly care for their kids’ teeth.