Brushing is one of the easiest and best ways to keep your teeth looking their best. Careful daily brushing can also eliminate the instance of cavities and tooth decay. Unfortunately, when it concerns your toddler or small child, things can get pretty hectic when it comes time for them to brush their teeth. They may not want you to brush their teeth for them, turning their head any time you get near their mouth with a toothbrush. They might even grab the brush from your hand and do a haphazard job on their own teeth, while you’re standing there full-well knowing that they aren’t cleaning properly.

Here are a few tips you can use when trying to get your kids into the habit of brushing their teeth. These tips can be used on toddlers and older kids alike.

Make Oral Care Fun and Enjoyable

First and foremost, it’s important to know that toddlers, kids and teens generally won’t do something that they don’t like. In this case, yelling and nagging your children to brush their teeth makes it feel like a punishment, which has the exact opposite effect on what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of yelling at your kids to brush their teeth, try to make the occasion fun and enjoyable. Buy them light-up toothbrushes that have fun characters on them and let them go to town. Some toothbrushes even have music or sound effects that make kids enjoy getting their teeth clean.

Offer a Rewards Program

Put up a cardboard or dry erase board in the bathroom and have your child place a sticker or mark on each day they brush their teeth properly. Find a variety of fun stickers your child will enjoy looking at and they’ll feel like they get to place their own sticker any time they brush their teeth. Rewards don’t have to be extravagant, as it can become problematic when you find yourself buying them a new toy every time they brush their teeth, however, there are lots of little things you can give them without it becoming a burden or bore.

Oral Health Care Education

In most cases, small toddlers and children aren’t giving their teeth a good clean because they don’t realize how important it is to their health. Speak to your local dentist about educating your kids on oral health care and what you can do to make it more engaging. There are lots of videos, brochures and books available that help kids get into the habit of keeping their teeth clean. Your dentist may even recommend downloading a gaming app that allows your child to brush another person or animal’s teeth to get an idea of how it’s done.

Show Them How It’s Done

It might help if you get down on their level and show them how to properly brush teeth. Don’t be afraid to let your child put their toothbrush in your mouth and try to get those chompers cleaned for you. It’s all about having mutual respect for one another and teaching kids that it’s important to keep their teeth in good shape.