Can’t I Just Brush Them Twice as Long Tomorrow?

Can’t I Just Brush Them Twice as Long Tomorrow?

Getting your child into a teeth-brushing habit can be a struggle, but with these tips, it can be a breeze.


“That toothpaste is too spicy!” “I already brushed them!” “I’m sooooooooo tired!”

It’s amazing how much chaos can emerge each night when you cheerfully call to your little one, “Time to brush your teeth!”

Too often, a pea-sized drop of toothpaste turns into a pandemic-sized tantrum.

It’s mostly unavoidable. There’s no silver toothbrush to solve all their enamel woes. But here are some tricks to keep in mind for the nightly routine.

Better Brushes

Toothbrushes now come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. Some are branded with your kid’s favorite TV show or science fiction character. Don’t leave them stuck with the boring toothbrush they get from the dentist. Get the one that sings or bends or glows.

Set a Timer

Two minutes – the amount of brushing time recommended by the American Dental Association – will seem like an eternity to most children. But counting down can be fun. Set a timer and start small. 30 seconds. When it hits zero, make sure there’s lots of cheering and clapping and high-fiving.

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Distract Them

Let them listen to music or watch a short video on your tablet or phone while they brush. Brushing on its own can be boring, but it doesn’t have to be.

Do it Together

Especially when they first start learning to brush on their own, stand next to them and talk them through how to do it. “Circular motions,” you’ll say. Then, “I like to start at the back and work my way around.” Finally, “Now say ‘eeeeeeeeee’ so we can get those front teeth.” Let them follow your instructions, and then have them be the leader and teach you how to brush your teeth.

Keep Track

Sticker charts tracking how many days in a row they brush without being asked (or without having to be asked 10 times) can help keep them motivated. You can work out a prize if you want, or just teach them the real prize is not having to get their teeth drilled by the dentist next time they go.

Children may not understand the importance of a healthy dental routine, but they do understand fun. With this entertaining bag of tricks, they’ll have clean teeth in no time.

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