• Guest Blogger

Defeating the daily battle against the teeth monster

by Betty from California


We all know that getting your child to brush their teeth can be a challenge for many of us. Who wants to wrestle a toddler for 20 minutes before they actually brush their teeth? Not me! So I have some tips that have helped me defeat this daily battle of the teeth monster. Hopefully, you can find that they help you too!


Tip 1: Model the behavior


What’s the best way to have your children brush their teeth? You got it! It’s to have them see you set the example for them. Every morning and night, I herd my kids into the bathroom like a farmer herding their little lambs. I start by brushing my own teeth first and they follow my lead. Not only am I multitasking, win, win. But they are learning from me.


Tip 2: Turn it into a game


Brushing doesn’t have to be tedious. Have fun with it! This did wonders for my family. You can sing a song while brushing. In our case, we put on a song and dance while brushing our teeth. Not only is it fun and silly, but it allows them to get their wiggles out. We also turn it into a “Who brushed their teeth better?” challenge. Winner gets an extra 5 minutes of downtime before bed, plus bragging rights!


Tip 3: Set a 2-minute timer


If you don’t have a cooking timer, you can use the one on your phone. That will do the trick too. Set the timer for 2 minutes before you start. Observe and make sure they get all areas of their mouth, making sure they brush their tongue as well.


Tip 4: Don’t use scare tactics!


Don’t scare your child with phrases like: “If you don’t brush your teeth, they will fall out.” Or the all too familiar one: “The dentist is going to pull out all your teeth!” Phrases like these can be damaging to a child’s psyche and can also be counterproductive. They should look forward to their 6-month checkup and not be afraid.


Tip 5: Be Flexible


If you're still having trouble with getting your children to brush, try switching it up. Maybe they will need those toothbrushes with flashing lights, or timers and music integrated in them to motivate them. Most importantly, get them a toothbrush they will be excited to use! Like one from their favorite character, such as Mickey Mouth oopsies! I meant Mouse! ☺ Or if they love Princess Belle like my child, then they will want to brush their teeth all the time!

This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Betty.


About Betty


Hello, I am Betty! I’m a mother of two wonderful kids, a pre-teen and a toddler. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Studies. I became a preschool teacher, and teaching is my passion.

Want more information on brushing your child's teeth? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Two Minutes Twice A Day For A Healthy Smile. Find it on wichealth.org in the Children 1-5 category!