Your child's dentist may have recommended that your youngster brush his or her teeth at least two minutes twice a day. Still, if your child is like most other children, he or she may get easily distracted from brushing or simply attempt to avoid the healthy practice altogether. Nevertheless, there are ways to encourage your child to brush for the prescribed time. Here are a few:
Use a timer and a reward
Most kids love the challenge of being timed, especially if there is a reward at the end of the challenge. Select a timer that your child can check on his or her own throughout the brushing session. You can use a cell phone or a kitchen timer. Just make sure it is visible to your child. Each time your child successfully completes his or her brushing challenge, give your little one a small reward. It doesn't have to be expensive; it just needs to be meaningful to the child. It could even be a cumulative prize that adds up to a play date with you at the park or the opportunity to select the next movie that your family will watch together.
Buy great-tasting toothpaste
Mint-flavored toothpaste may be great for a teen or an adult who is concerned about bad breath, but to a young child, the taste can seem harsh and unsavory. Some children don't brush their teeth long enough because they can't endure the uncomfortable intensity of the mint flavor for two minutes.
Instead of having your child brush with your toothpaste, choose children's paste with a mild flavor. Your child will be more apt to brush longer if he or she doesn't feel as though his or her mouth is on fire during the brushing session.
Brush with your child
Make brushing your child's teeth a family affair. Young children love it when their parents participate in activities with them. Schedule your tooth-cleaning sessions to coincide with those of your youngster. Two minutes will fly by if your child is enjoying your company as he or she brushes.
If your child dislikes brushing his or her teeth, he or she may not brush for the two minutes that most dentists prescribe. Try the suggestions above but also consult with the child's dentist, a family dentist would be best. He or she will be able to offer further guidance concerning ways to encourage your little one to brush.