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If you regularly find yourself at a standoff with your child when it comes to their daily tooth brushing routine, you are in good company! Many parents find themselves chasing their littles with a toothbrush and toothpaste, trying to get to their tiny chompers. In fact, studies have shown that almost half of parents face forcing their kids to brush (at least for kids up to age 11, anyway).

Rather than giving up and letting your child become lax by not brushing like they need to, we have some ideas we hope your child will love to make the process a little more fun for both of you!

  • Get some feel-good endorphins flowing: Dancing is highly effective at creating feelings of well-being and even euphoria. You and your child’s smile can benefit by dancing while brushing. You can download two-minute songs on your phone for your child to listen to while they brush, and you can make it even more fun by dancing with them! (Dance battle, anyone?)
  • Join your child by brushing your teeth, too: Kids love to imitate, and they will more likely want to join you, so you are brushing together. It is also a great way to show them how the job should be done if they need a refresher.
  • Get them an all-singing, all-dancing toothbrush: Kids like gadgets and using their imagination as much as grownups do. Using a fun toothbrush with their favorite superhero, cartoon character, or one that lights up and flashes can liven things up enough for them to want to use it!
  • Appeal to their taste buds: Get them their favorite flavor of toothpaste. Whether it’s strawberry or mango, chocolate or vanilla or unicorn flavored, they will consider it more of a treat than a chore.
  • Enlist their help: Let them get some practice brushing your teeth so you can turn around and brush theirs (this one’s for younger kids). You can also let them practice tooth brushing on their favorite toy or doll.
  • Use a reward chart with shiny, sparkling stickers for shiny, sparkling teeth: Most children will jump on board for just about anything shiny (or superhero) themed. They can even earn a little prize for completing their tooth brushing chart at the end of a certain time.
  • Reinforce brushing with storytime: Read age-appropriate books to your child to reinforce proper brushing.
  • Make up some entertaining stories that emphasize good oral hygiene habits: Villainous cavity characters, superheroes, or magical artifacts (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss) enlisted to defeat tooth decay and gum disease, etc. You can act out the parts to make this chore appeal to their imagination.
  • Team up with the tooth fairy: Enlist the help of this favorite childhood sprite to get your little one excited about cleaning their chompers. Maybe the tooth fairy pays more for nicer-looking teeth or just leaves little notes under your child’s pillow now and then, congratulating them on a job well done on their clean, sparkling teeth. A little bit of fanciful magic can spark their creative imagination and dreams.

We hope you found some gems in these ideas to help make your child’s nightly brushing routine more fun and palatable rather than a battle you both dread. Even as adults, we need things to look forward to livening up mundane activities, and your children are no different. Give them some cool ways to make brushing more fun, and their improved dental checkups will reward you both!