When children refuse to brush their teeth, it can be a major source of frustration and contention. You know they need to maintain their oral hygiene, but how can you help your child understand how important it is?
Parents can implement a few strategies when children refuse to brush their teeth that may help change their attitude from one of resistance to cooperation.
Create Fun Incentives
Tooth brushing doesn’t have to be a chore — it can be a game. Create a reward system for when your children remember to brush their teeth for 2 minutes all on their own. They can put a sticker on a chart, and at the end of the week they will get a prize if they earned two stickers per day.
If you have more than one child, they can compete against each other to see who can earn the most stickers in a week or month. When you turn an oral health routine into a fun activity, children will pay less attention to the displeasing aspects.
Let Them Pick Out Oral Hygiene Products
When children refuse to brush their teeth, they usually don’t want anything to do with their toothbrush or toothpaste, or any other oral hygiene products. But if you bring them to the pharmacy and let them choose their own tools for the job, they may change their attitude.
Allow them to select toothbrushes with beloved TV show characters on them, and get brightly colored toothpaste to match. Soon enough, they will look forward to using their toothbrush every morning and night.
Have the Dentist Assess Mouth Sensitivity
Even if your children are too young to express it, they may struggle with increased mouth sensitivity. Tooth brushing could aggravate this and be highly uncomfortable for them.
On your next visit to the dentist, have them assess your child’s mouth for heightened sensitivity. This could be the reason they’re avoiding tooth brushing. Your dentist can offer tips and products to help decrease discomfort.
Teach Them About Why it’s Necessary
For older children, explain to them what happens when they don’t brush and floss. From cavities to gingivitis to tooth loss, there are plenty of less-than-favorable conditions that are a lot more challenging to deal with than a measly 4 minutes a day spent brushing their teeth. If they have a trusting relationship with your family dentist, they may be more willing to listen to him or her explain the reasons oral hygiene is necessary.
At Oak Hills Dentistry, we can help when your children refuse to brush their teeth. We are caring and friendly, focused on establishing a rapport with our young patients and encouraging them to work hard to maintain their oral health.