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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
Store and its social media channels. He is a regular contributor to Agent Straight Talk, the
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How to Get Kids to Brush and Like It

Aug 12, 2014

By Dean George

Have you noticed that when it comes to preparing for bedtime, school-age kids have basically two speeds – slow and s-l-o-w-e-r?

And when it comes to brushing before bedtime, I've seen statues move faster - and show more enthusiasm. It’s like the child you cajole to brush before bedtime is auditioning to be the one child left behind in No Child Left Behind.

Last week in our Back to School series we covered the importance of brushing before rushing off to school. Getting kids to brush before bedtime is a bit like sending them to night school, except everyone makes the honor roll when the subject is sleeping. It’s these subjects that most kids need remedial tutoring and one-on-one instruction.

Anyway, it was 19
th century Scottish author, government reformer and the-so-aptly-named-for-a-dental blog Samuel Smiles who wrote:

“Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap character;
Sow character, and you reap a destiny.”

Translation: do an act often enough and it becomes a habit. As parents of mini-me’s (and grandparents of mini-me-me’s), it is important to instill good oral hygiene habits like brushing twice daily, flossing, mouth rinsing and regular dental visits. Of course, sometimes that is easier said than done. Which brings us to today’s blog topic: how to get kids to brush and like it.

1. Make Brushing Fun This may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s not nearly the stretch that say “Having Fun with a Root Canal” or “Four Sure Ways to Enjoy A Tooth Extraction” would be if you don’t brush regularly. There are lots of ways to make tooth brushing fun, including allowing kids to pick out their own toothbrushes with their favorite colors and characters. Just make sure whatever Ninja Turtle or Disney Princess toothbrush they choose has soft bristles.

There are also toothbrushes like FireFly® that flash while your child brushes one row of teeth, then alerts your child when its time to brush the other row.

Another way to make tooth brushing fun is with apps like Brush DJ and Brush with Jackson. Brush DJ is a free toothbrush app that plays two minutes of music to encourage brushing for the recommended length of time. The app also allows users to set reminders when it’s time to brush, floss, use a mouth rinse and see your dentist.

Brush with Jackson features an animated yellow rabbit that shows kids how to brush, records up to one minute of video interaction, repeats words and phrases and the affable rabbit also plays his toothbrush as a kazoo. Brush with Jackson is available for just $1.00 through Applie’s iTune store, and also offers a high-def version for $3.99.

2. Tooth Paste Flavors Kids today also have an assortment of toothbrush flavors to choose from, including chocolate and cupcake. One of the first chocolate toothpastes previously mentioned in this blog space is Theodent®, a non-fluoride toothpaste that contains Rennou™, an ingredient its inventors say is better at cavity prevention than fluoride.

Long-time toothpaste manufacturers like Crest and Colgate also offer a variety of flavored toothpastes. Colgate offers fave flavs like watermelon and strawberry, and Crest recently began selling mint chocolate, lime spearmint and vanilla mint. When considering new flavors for a child, be aware that some toothpastes can sting young mouths so be sure to use one that is specially formulated for children.

3.  A Little Goes a Long Way Use no more than a pea-size amount on a child’s toothbrush. Too much toothpaste can overwhelm a child’s mouth with too much foam and create a choking or gagging reaction.  A few experiences like that can discourage their desire to brush regularly.

4.  The More the Merrier To show your child tooth brushing can be fun, join them once or twice a week and brush your teeth with them. Let them know you think it’s important to brush twice daily too, and that you aren't telling them to do something that you don’t do yourself. And when they do a good job of brushing, encourage them with praise and rewards like picking a new toothbrush or fun-flavored toothpaste.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and if you don’t have a dental plan now that helps with regular dental visits, we encourage you to click here to learn about plans available in your area. And before I forget, the smart kid sitting in the front row says if you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, PinterestGoogle+, and LinkedIn,  he’ll put in a good word for you with the teacher.

Photo source:

Copyright 2014, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC© 

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