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4 Tooth Brushing Tips for Young Children

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If tooth brush time is always an argument in your house, here are tips to help get kids in the habit of brushing their teeth daily.

Getting kids to grab their toothbrush right when they wake up in the morning and before they head to bed at night can be a challenge. But a few tricks will help them form the habit — especially when you make it fun. Adopt these tips from two dentists who know how to make teeth-brushing time with kids stress-free.

4 Tooth-Brushing Tips for Kids

1. Let them Choose the Tool

Instead of bringing home a toothbrush for your son or daughter, take them to the store with you and let them pick it out themselves, says Neil Gajjar, D.D.S., president of the Academy of General Dentistry. This will likely get them to look forward to using it. Also, while young children can use the brush by themselves, make sure you go over their work. “Until kids can tie their own shoelaces, they don’t have the manual dexterity to properly brush their teeth,” Gajjar says. An extra hand of yours will ensure they hit every spot.

2. Play into Their Likes.

Does your son love Cars? Is your daughter super into Peppa Pig? Getting them gadgets that are stamped with their favorite characters or colors will keep them coming back to brushing, says Gajjar. He also suggests trying toothpaste flavors that they like, so they’ll enjoy the experience. A good option: Aquafresh Kids 2+ Bubble Mint Toothpaste, which has a sweet taste kids will love, but it still fights cavities.

3. Make it a Team Effort.

Brushing your teeth as a family is always a good idea, says Jennifer Silver, D.D.S., of MacLeod Trail Dental in Canada. “Set a good example and be diligent about brushing your own teeth,” she says. That way, your kids will see you do it every day and follow right along.

4. Play a Song.

To make sure your kids are brushing for the right amount of time, press play on a two-minute song — one they’ll enjoy listening to while they work, Silver says. Another tactic to encourage them to keep coming back to brushing, this should help them look forward to it while also making them more diligent about the task.