Tips to Help Kids Cooperate With Brushing

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Tips to Help Kids Cooperate With Brushing

At Walker Pediatric Dentistry, we know that keeping kids engaged and willing to participate in their own dental health is one of the most difficult parts of being a parent. Children naturally resist all things associated with the dentist, from cleaning visits to potential braces and more.

One of the biggest roadblocks often comes even when the family dentist isn’t involved: During daily brushing. Just like any other undesirable daily activity, getting the kids to brush can be much more difficult than it should be. You can’t relent, though – allowing kids not to brush could have a major negative effect on their long term dental health. Here are a few tips for keeping your kids brushing even when they may not want to.

Set an Example

Especially in their younger years, even if they’d die before admitting it, your children want to do all the same things you do. You’re their role model and their baseline for how people should act.

If you take a lazy approach to dental hygiene, then, so will your kids. On the other hand, if you show them how important brushing is to you every single day from a young age, this sets the tone for them moving forward. This means more than just reminding them to brush, though – help them with proper technique and timing, and actively participate in their dental care.

Let Them Own It

At the same time, there will come a point where your kids need to take their own ownership of the process so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Some kids may personalize their toothbrush or toothpaste container, or even the mirror they stand in front of for brushing. Some may learn more easily by brushing your teeth, something you should absolutely let them do if they’re interested. Anything that might cause them to embrace or enjoy brushing their teeth is a major positive.

Distractions and Activities

There will inevitably be some kids who need a bit more stimulation no matter how effective your early motivation tactics are. In some cases, this means thinking up accompanying activities to get them through the process – many parents will read or sing to their children. You can also use tooth-brushing as a dangling carrot: If they have a favorite part of their daily or nightly routine, make a rule that they can’t enjoy this until they’ve finished brushing properly.


Through the whole process, remember to stay patient. This is new for children, and they’re often incapable of understanding exactly why it’s so important. They might need your help with brushing for several years early in life, and there may be times where you’ll have to be stern with them. In the end, these occasions are well worth a healthy mouth.

Walker Pediatric Dentistry is a premier children’s dentist serving Salt Lake City, and a comfortable, habit-forming environment for children is one of our primary goals. Speak to one of our expert staff members today to find out more about any of our services.