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How Do You Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth?

July 22, 2014
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann

Once your child is old enough to brush his or her own teeth, the new challenge becomes getting them to. Now that they’re too big to sit still and let you brush for them, they need some incentive to do it themselves. So how do you get your kids to brush their teeth?

Make it Part of Their Routine

Make sure their morning and evening routine is consistent, and that brushing their teeth is a big part of it. When it’s done every single day, twice a day, they won’t be questioning whether or not the have to brush their teeth.

Educate Them

As your child grows, make sure to tell them how brushing their teeth contributes to good health, and how it will help make them strong and healthy adults. Tell them about those pesky germs that stick to their teeth every day, and that they are fighting back against this germs with their toothbrush. Knowing why they’re brushing their teeth every morning and night helps to keep them interested and diligent.

Make It Fun

There are many games, songs, and dental products that can accompany your child’s brushing routine. A quick youtube or google search will come up with plenty of ideas, like this video that has over 11 millions views, or this one featuring Elmo and his friends. There are also children’s toothbrushes that connect to smartphone apps that turn the entire tooth brushing routine into an experience.

Give Them an Incentive

I’m not saying your child should get a prize or a treat every time they brush, but there are ways to incentivize brushing that don’t include buying them things they don’t need. You could create a chart and add stickers to it every time they brush properly or reward them by letting them pick out their toothbrush or brand of toothpaste when they are doing well.

Set the Example

The single most important factor, in my opinion, is the parent's attitude towards dental health. Parents need to set a good example with their own tooth brushing routine. The bottom line is; if parents don’t have good tooth brushing habits and a positive attitude toward dental visits, their children have a greater chance of developing bad habits and dental problems.

If you have questions or concerns about getting your kids to brush, feel free to email Dr. Mann at If you have suggestions about getting kids to brush, feel free to share them in the comment section below!

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