Dr. Paul Perella, DMD

Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Brush

You know the drill...the nighttime routine. And every night, you face the daunting task once again of trying to get your children to brush their teeth. While it may make you want to say, "FINE! Don't brush! Get cavities!!" we all know that could be considered some kind of parental neglect. And that would not be good.

So, here are some tips you can use in order to make brushing teeth a fun and enjoyable time, for both of you.

1) Give them exciting toothbrushes

Our daughter Sydney is really into Elmo these days, so we bought her a toothbrush with Elmo on it. When she balks at brushing her teeth, we tell her "Elmo really wants you to brush your teeth." And, not wanting to disappoint Elmo, she starts to brush! By keeping things fresh and fun, children will be excited to use their toothbrush since it represents a little bit of who they are and what they enjoy.

2) Make a rewards chart

For each night your children willingly--and without argument--brush their teeth, give them a sticker. After a week of stickers, they have earned a special reward. Our close friends also use this tactic as they potty train their 2 year old.

3) Keep it fresh with different toothpaste

Many toothpastes come in different flavors such as fruit and bubblegum, a far cry from the standard mint. Also, have your children participate in the decision of which flavor toothpaste to buy. That way, they feel more involved in the decision making process.

4) Buy a fun flossing tool

Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene, especially for children. Encourage this habit by purchasing a fun flossing tool. These colorful contraptions get children excited about flossing their teeth. But make sure they are flossing correctly and getting each inside surface of the tooth.