• By 1300SMILES Densits
  • June 14, 2022

Is the sight of a toothbrush enough to make your child fling themselves on the floor in tears? Or, is it an uphill battle to convince them to stay still while brushing morning and night?

Good oral hygiene from an early age is crucial in protecting your child’s precious smile from tooth decay and other health issues. However, we also understand that not every child (or parent and guardian) loves toothbrushing time.

To help take the dread out of toothbrushing, we’ve compiled a list of 12 ways you can jazz up their routine.

Check it out!

Top 12 ways to make toothbrushing fun for your child

1. Watch fun shows and read books about toothbrushing

Sadly, children don’t always want to listen to their parents or guardians about the importance of toothbrushing. However, if you can read your child a book or set them in front of a cartoon where the main character is learning about healthy oral habits, your little one may be more receptive to copying their behaviour.

2. Make up your own story

If you can’t find a suitable book or show, or if you’d like to get creative, try making up your own story about a character learning the importance of toothbrushing.

Or, you could tell a story to your little one during brushing time. This is a great way to get their imagination flowing as they brush for two minutes. Once they’re finished, perhaps they can make up their own story to tell you while you brush your teeth.

3. Give your child a sticker when they brush their teeth

When your child successfully brushes their teeth for the correct time morning and night, reward them with a special sticker. You can give them the sticker to use how they like, or you can place the sticker on a toothbrushing chart so they can clearly track their progress.

Courtesy of the Tooth Fairy, we have a handy 1300SMILES Dentists chart for you to download.

4. Play ‘guess the song’

During brushing time, you could hum a song and have your child guess what you’re singing. Or, you could play a few seconds of a song on your phone and have your child guess what song it’s going to be.

5. Get your pets ‘involved’

Get the beloved family dog involved in teaching your child about why brushing is important. Ask your vet about how you can brush your dog’s teeth and which treats are useful for keeping their gums and breath fresh.

If your child is old enough, have them help you carry out Fido’s oral healthcare routine. This way, your child can see how every member of the family must look after their teeth to grow big and strong and remain healthy.

6. Employ the Tooth Fairy

Why only rely on the Tooth Fairy when your child loses a tooth? Ensure you enlist her during the toothbrushing routine as well by having her write a fun note to your child after they’ve brushed. Or, perhaps she will encourage them with little toys or other rewards when your child is hitting their goals.

7. Lead by example

Families who brush together help avoid cavities together! Instead of watching your child brush their teeth, get involved and also brush yours. You can see who is creating the most foam with the toothpaste or who has the mintiest breath. Just make sure you check that they’ve brushed correctly by going over their teeth afterwards with their toothbrush.

8. Download toothbrushing timer apps on your phone

Check your phone’s app store to see if you can download fun toothbrushing timers. Some apps have rewards and stickers for hitting certain milestones.

9. Sing a special toothbrushing song

Make up a fun song to go along with toothbrushing. Some children are receptive to songs that pair with tasks, as it creates a sense of familiarity and routine. You could also create a victory song for when your child has successfully finished their toothbrushing to make it extra exciting!

10. Reward your child with a toothbrushing licence

You can give your child a sense of accomplishment by rewarding them with a toothbrushing licence – much like a pen licence.

Once your child has shown that they can correctly brush – or shows a willingness to brush – you can award them with this licence. Make sure that you still supervise them once they have their licence, and make it clear that you’ll still need to help clean any areas that are hard for them to reach.

11. Have your child choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste

Get your child involved by having them pick out a special toothbrush and toothpaste that’s theirs and theirs alone. They may pick a toothbrush that lights up or features their favourite hero or cartoon. Your child may also be partial to a sparkly toothpaste or one that’s a fun flavour.

Be sure to check for the Australian Dental Association’s seal of approval when picking out products.

12. Play ‘toothbrushing’ on your child’s favourite toy

Your child may be more interested in brushing their teeth if they play pretend toothbrushing with their favourite toy.

You could have your child brush their toy’s ‘teeth’ before they brush their own.

Frequently asked questions

How do I cope with a child with sensitive teeth? 

If your child has sensitive teeth while brushing, try a sensitive, child-friendly toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Your child may also benefit from you standing behind them while they’re brushing their teeth for added security. They may also like to squeeze one of their favourite soft toys as well to help them grow accustomed to the sensations.

Don’t hesitate to chat to their healthcare provider if you have any concerns or require more guidance here.

My child gags while brushing. What can I do?

Ensure that you aren’t – or they aren’t – going too far back into their mouth when brushing. It’s also possible that their toothpaste may be too strong – sometimes mint can be quite offensive for little mouths whose tastebuds are still maturing.

Opt for a different flavour of child-friendly toothpaste and see how they go.

Book your child for their check-up today!

It’s crucial your little one visits the dentist regularly – about every six months – to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy.

Our dentists are ready to help make brushing fun for your child by showing some great techniques with a child-friendly approach.

Book in to see a 1300SMILES dentist near you today so your kids can learn about the importance of taking care of their oral health, for life!