Monday, September 23, 2013

Dr. DiStefano, Your Howell Family Dentist, Shares Tips on Getting Your Kids to Brush Regularly!

Do you struggle getting your child to 
brush his/her teeth?

When they finally pick up the toothbrush are they brushing correctly and for the recommended time of two minutes?

Are you looking for ideas to help make the process easier and 
more fun for them and less stressful for you?

Dr. DiStefano and his Howell Family Dental staff are ready to partner with you to improve your family’s health.   
We’ve shared some tips below that may make the routine of 
getting your kids to brush more enjoyable. 

Little Individuals

Kids enjoy having some ownership with making choices.  Allow them to pick out an age-appropriate toothbrush.  There are a variety of toothbrushes available that have characters, lights, music and special designs.  You may want to consider getting an electronic spin brush.  A lot of kids enjoy the vibration as it tickles their teeth and gums.

Also consider letting them choose their own flavor of kid’s toothpaste! 

Designate a special cup or disposable cups just for them to rinse with. 

Use charts and reward stickers that highlight their favorite character, sport or hobby. 


Remind children to brush in a circular motion by comparing brushing to wheels from a “choo choo” train or a car.  This may keep them from brushing back and forth, which can irritate or damage gums.    

Tell a story or read them a book to explain how sugar makes holes in teeth.  If they need more visual evidence that they aren’t brushing enough, show them the “Pink!” by having them chew a tablet made from a dissolving agent that clings to plaque.  These tablets are available at most pharmacies!

Encourage them to make a lot of bubbles and foam when they brush.  You could brush your teeth beside them and have a contest to see who can make the biggest or most bubbles. 

Make an imaginary game out of brushing.  For example, the toothbrush could be a super hero, their toothpaste their special power agent, and they could pretend that they’re waging a battle against monster germs and evil cavities. 

Timing is Everything

Try using an egg timer to ensure they are brushing the appropriate amount of time.  There are numerous designs to choose from, including frogs, cows and Disney characters. 

Sing or play a special song while they brush, and insist that they keep brushing to hear the whole song.  There are also toothbrushes designed to play music or light up while brushing. 

All Together Now

Most children want to be like Mom or Dad.  The simple act of brushing your teeth correctly in their company can inspire them to brush, too.  You may want to comment on how fresh and smooth your teeth feel afterward. 

Try to make brushing a routine.  Have the whole family brush together after dinner or after their last snack before bed.  It may be helpful to do this at least an hour before bed time before everyone is too tired. 

Another fun activity is to allow your child to brush your teeth while you brush theirs.  They may not do much with your brush but it may distract them while you’re brushing theirs.  There’s bound to be lots of giggles! 

Allow them to have their favorite stuffed animal with them when they brush.  Get a special brush for them to brush their toy’s teeth. 

Most importantly, remember to praise them when they remember to brush correctly or without being reminded.   

We’re available to help you work with your child if you continue to have difficulty getting them to brush.  Please give us a call so we can get you on the right track to improving your family’s health. 

Dr. Gary R. DiStefano, DDS & Associates