158 08/13/2012 contests

Tips For Getting Your Kids to Clean Their Teeth: Share and enter for your chance to WIN a $1,000 LISTERINE® SMART MOUTH KIDS Prize!

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Raising children is challenging to say the very least. There are daily challenges and sometimes I feel like they come every 10 minutes. There are days where I will let some things slide. There are days where I will let everything slide. Sometimes it’s all I can do to make it through the day. While some challenges are molehills, such as doing homework; other challenges – such as dental hygiene – are mountains. But, I have a mouth full of cavity-filled teeth and I was going to do everything in my power to spare my children that pain.  We are now at a point where we floss, brush and rinse every night but it was a long road to get here. My oldest and youngest were fairly easy to develop good teeth brushing habits with – we were able to take care of their teeth from the beginning.
Cuyler, my middle child, was a bit of a different story. He has autism and with that came so many sensory issues that brushing his teeth proved an impossible feat.  Getting a toothbrush into his mouth, not a chance! I wasn’t going to give up, though. I went through dozens of different brushes and different toothpastes. He always ended up in a meltdown. By the time he was three years old I’d had enough. We decided to start over again with a slower strategy. I bought a new toothbrush – a small toddler toothbrush and we would hold off on toothpaste – one thing at a time. I told him one morning that we were going to brush teeth at bedtime. He fought it so I took the toothbrush into his room, sat on his bed and firmly said “Five seconds” I put the toothbrush to his lips and quickly said “onetwothreefourfive! GOOD BOY! You did it!” I did that for a few nights. By the end of the week his lips weren’t pursed shut and I was able to get a few swipes onto his front teeth. I then started to space out the seconds. Always counting to that predictable number five, just taking longer to get to it. I was able to eventually, with great patience, get the toothbrush in his mouth and brush his teeth. 
After a few months I was able to count (very slowly) to five while brushing each quadrant of his mouth. FINALLY – his teeth were really being taken care of. Once he was used to the toothbrush in his mouth, he allowed a small bead of toothpaste on the brush. I felt like a good mom. This was one area where I was actually succeeding. The next challenge was going to be floss – I knew that’s where we would run into trouble with cavities if I didn’t start. Once his adult teeth started coming in – there was no question about it. We were going to floss. I started off just flossing the front few teeth. After a few days I would floss a few more teeth each night until his entire mouth was being flossed. Then we introduced LISTERINE® SMART RINSE® – that was the easy part. Initially I had to show Cuyler how mouth rinse works – swish, swish, swish, swish, SPIT.  We also used a countdown for that (still do), but he figured out the mouth rinse right away. We call the plaque particles that you can see in the sink “sugar bugs” and sometimes I’ll find the kids brushing side by side, doing a rinse and seeing who has the least amount of “sugar bugs” when they spit. Whoever spits out the least amount of sugar bugs has brushed the best. Anything can be turned into a game!
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It was a long struggle for us to get him into a pattern of good oral hygiene, but it was a fight I needed to win. I needed to ensure that we were taking all the preventative measures to keep him from having to endure the process of getting a cavity filled.  Ironically, my child who refused a toothbrush entry into his mouth for the first three years of his life is also my child with the best teeth. No cavities and perfect alignment.
That’s how it worked for us. So tell me, what has worked for you? Are your kids good brushers or do you struggle? Tell us about tips or challenges you faced as your kids learned to take care of their teeth in the comments and you will be entered for your chance to win one of three LISTERINE® SMART MOUTH KIDS $1,000 cash prizes that can be used towards your child’s education!  
The contest starts this week and will run for the next three consecutive weeks. It’s open to UrbanMoms members and your comment is your ballot is your entry.  Come back each week, read the posts and comment.  You have three opportunities to enter the contest.  Good luck!
Submission to the Contest Weekly Blog Comment Period closes at 8:59 am, on Monday, August 20. 2012.
UrbanMoms.ca members are eligible to win so don’t forget to sign-in.  Not a member yet?  Click here to join.
  • spynaert

    I may be too late but I never made a big deal of the dentist. I let my son watch the dentist clean and work on my teeth to show him it’s not a big deal. He’s been good ever since that first time.

  • evenflow82@live.com

    you know…i really don’t have to do anything to get my son Ehren prepared for the dentist. we brush his teeth twice a day, sometimes he does it and we just polish them a bit afterwards, or sometimes he doesn’t want to and we have to do the whole shebang. but as for the actual dentist…he really doesn’t have an issue. he loves it. all the cool little gadgets, and the dental hygenists are fantastic, they explain everything to ehren and let him hold the little sucky vacuum thingy.
    and of course they let him pick a prize after. there’s cars, stickers, other weird toys and sunglasses and whatnot (all from dollarama of course)…what’s ehren pick?? spiderman chapstick!
    my kid’s weird, I know

  • nancy2880

    Starting young and making it a competition to do the best job works.

  • LEONA

    I always had my kids brush before story time and it was never a problem getting them to brush -

  • christine25

    I always let my kids pick out their own toothbrushes & toothpaste…seems to do the trick..they are great “brushers”!

  • aimeep

    For my autistic son we had a dentist appointment where the dentist just looked in his mouth and pretended to work. No pain or sounds. Then a big treat after. The next time we went for the actual work he was calm and wasnt nervous.

  • nrobak

    just getting them to brush their teeth consistently

  • funskigirl

    Our trip to the dentist would include me getting in that chair first and getting my teeth checked. It was then his turn to get into that chair and I would sit beside him and make him comfortable. I found that the positive feedback from the dental hygienist and dentist would reinforce my constant pushing to brush and floss.

  • pmr

    Some toothpastes taste better than others, find one that makes your kid’s enjoy brushing their teeth with

  • missyg78

    We use a two minute timer to keep our kids brushing for as long as they should, otherwise they’d brush for 10 seconds! They are both interested in flossing, so using the floss sticks is usually not a battle – but we had to work up to flossing between all of the teeth, first day we did 2 spaces, next day we did 4, until we got between every tooth. My kids actually look forward to going to the dentist and getting new toothbrushes and stickers!

  • islandgal

    My grandpa has full dentures…he pops those out from time to time as a joke which horrifies my son and is great motivation to get him to brush and floss. He has had good check-ups so far.

  • pjh

    When my kids were young, we used to have a wonderful 2 level step that they stood on so they could see themselves clearly in their bathroom mirror. They had favourite character toothbrushes that we purchased at the local store which was an incentive as well.

  • drjess

    We have a routine and tooth brushing is the same as hand washing. We treat it as an important and essential part of their health. We do like to use colorful toothbrushes to help out along the way.

  • Beth

    This has worked well for my kids. It’s a reminder to clean properly. Singing a song to make sure they brush long enough

  • eabeier

    My kids had an uncle lose his teeth early in age to gingivitis. We told them it was something that could be prevented with good brushing and that they need to visit the dentist regularly. The kids loved their dentist so neither was a chore.

  • soala

    We sing songs right before we brush our teeth to make it fun

  • Ron

    The trick is to start young, and make it fun. Oral B makes kids’ toothpastes that are tasty, so you really just get them to chew down on their toothbrush for a bit. As they get older, the kids will get accustomed to the idea of having a plastic brush in their mouths and it will be that much easier to get them to learn proper brushing technique afterwards.

  • ElaineB2

    Using a toothbrush with a flashing light is a good reminder of how long to brush, along with Smart Rinse to target any spots that were missed!

  • mlm111

    In addition to teaching the kids ourselves, we asked the dental hygienist to explain the how-to and why which helped a lot!!

  • Myra

    the struggle we have is consistency.. they are not blushing daily like they should and it got to the point they would lie about brushing their teeth so i hadda watch them do it to be sure it was getting done. also flossing is a huge issue it wasnt getting done period! so now that i have been on them and watching them they are doing it more and more without me nagging.

  • Beg42

    I have the kids use glow in the dark tooth brushes

  • loucheryl

    My son loves to brush his teeth. He always watched me brush my teeth and when I did it, I would make it seem like I was having so much fun. I think that is why he likes to brush his teeth today! The one thing he doesn’t like is the kiddy toothpaste. He uses just a touch of mine.

  • celt

    Electric toothbrushes really helped. Both of my kids hate the taste of mint so finding a toothpaste that they could handle was a challenge but I did. The timer with the sand is great.

  • hannasmom

    I think the biggest tip is to be persistant with whatever attempt you are making. It will become habit but only after a lot of patience.

  • torooo

    Flossing seems to be difficult

  • LL

    I didn’t have too much of a problem. Setting the example and making it as fun as you can would be two tips I’d have for parents. I was a bit paranoid about the kids eating the toothpaste but all in all it worked out and I have two fairly decent brushers.

  • Castycat

    Promote a healthy diet with no pop limited fruit juice and sweets. This reduces acid erosion and food for bacteria, thus increasing oral hygiene.

  • avanthey

    My son likes to brush, flossing is the tough one. My problem is that I hate to floss too so I’m not a very good example for him!

  • JJ

    I think what has worked for me is patience. I tried cartoon toothbrushes and brushing games, but eventually the constant reinforcement of good dental practices is what paid off. The kids now are concerned with their own dental care.

  • Tara.duncan@shaw.ca

    Electric toothbrushes, flosser sticks and a timer with the sand running out!

  • susanann312

    I had no problem getting the kids to bush and they all have good teeth now that they are older. We just used a little hourglass thing to get the timing right.

  • Suzanneab

    Buy fun toothbrushes like their favourite TV characters. Also, buy logo toothpaste like the one from Disney.

  • janicour

    Starting very young with brushing paves the way for good oral hygeine. I took my children to the dentist from a very early age, and they loved the attention. Picking out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste also helped.

  • glynda

    I tell my children that if they don’t clean their teeth properly they will fall out and then they won’t be able to eat candy anymore. It has them rushing to the bathroom!

  • NenaS

    I always say “No bedtime story unless your teeth are brushed properly” and it works…most of the time….

  • jen s.

    it hasn’t been that difficult – it is just simply a fact that teeth must be brushed before bed. but i must say that ‘sparkle’ toothpaste is a good thing and also having them feel more grown-up by getting them sonic toothbrushes is great – and a huge benefit for their oral health too.

  • bozotheclown

    we promise our son that if he goes, the dentist will give him some stuff from the treasure box and now he keeps on asking us at home if he can go to the dentist today

  • Ruthy

    Starting at an early age and being consistent are the keys

  • mj2busy

    I use an egg timer and I also brush my teeth with the kids. It helps to lead by example.

  • maggie1952

    My kids never wanted to spend enough time brushing their teeth especially when they had braces on. I bought an inexpensive timer and they had to carefully brush their teeth for 2 mins. It was difficult with the braces, but they both have beautiful teeth now.

  • megnate

    My kids are good with brushing. The only problem I have is that my son swallows the toothpaste still. Good thing they make toothpaste for training :S

  • Happy Chinadoll

    I let my daughter pick our her toothbrush and toothpaste. I sing to her when I brush her teeth. Sometimes I play games with her by brushing fast and slow. Then she gets a turn to brush her teeth. We have a cute little cup for her to put her mouth wash and for her to rinse her mouth.

  • tinker

    I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had problems with the brushing routine.

  • lennypuz

    My son actually likes brushing his teeth and thinks its funny to brush mine for me haha

  • cotec007

    my son is too young to do this himself (9months), but for older kids I would say, buying products like smart rinse that are designed for them & have fun packaging will make them feel important and perhaps inspire them to do it.

  • batye123

    Brushing is easy but getting kids to floss is impossible task

  • ksceviour

    I always let my son pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste,,if its something he likes,he will want to use it and brush longer..when he was small,he had a Barney toothpaste that played music for 2 minutes,so he had to brush his teeth untill the music stopped :)
    Now he is 13,and sometimes dont want to brush his teeth,but he knows he has too! haha :)

  • mountie9

    We aren’t perfect but most nights are good. Right now we have 2 cool musical toothbrushes that they like to use. However, flossing we really need to work on — they hardly do it. I picked up some kids flossers today so maybe that will work

  • Miss_Elles

    My daughters are generally good brushers. They love flavoured toothpastes & they have an app on their iPod that sings a song. They have to brush for the length of time that the song is on for. Thanks for the contest!

  • ronnies

    We brush our toddler’s teeth for him and sing Raffi’s “Brush Your Teeth” song. It has really helped. I can’t believe it but he no longer cries and screams. In fact, he asks for ‘A Song?’ every night.

  • Carrie

    my kids don’t really fight brushing but they aren’t very good at it. We buy cartoon character toothbrushes and toothpaste to entice them. A new toothbrush is like winning the lottery for them :)

  • asmdragon

    I found out that let the professional person talk to my son making everything easy.
    He always followed what the dentist told him.

  • AK

    I was just honest and told my kids if they did not brush their teeth , floss and rinse, they would have bad breath , rotton teeth and they would have tooth aches, I showed them pictures and helped them brush till they were six, they all have nice teeth, one had to have braces but that worked out well, I have used rinses and usually get the kids brand that they use themselves and dont’ have to share

  • Jade

    What seems to work best for us is that I put paste on all four brushes and give them to the girls and let them do it themselves. Then, one at a time, I go around and do the “mommy polish”, making sure all of their teeth are brushed. Now that my older ones are 6 and 7, I pretty much only have to do that with the 1 and 3 year old :D

  • Yeslech

    My kids are good brushers. We do something I call “double brush” where after they have brushed their teeth independently I take a turn with their toothbrushes to give their teeth a thorough brushing. I want them to learn the skills and take responsibility for their own hygiene, but I want to double brush to make sure the job is done properly too!

  • kandemom

    I have a 10 year old and a 7 year old. They each love to tattle on the other, and this drives me bonkers. But it comes in handy when it comes to brushing. I am the first to know when one of them hasn’t used toothpaste, or if somebody brushed too quickly. Then it is time for me intervene and make sure they brush properly.

  • sandra

    Well, it’s always difficult trying to get my boys to brush. It’s like pulling teeth (no pun intended). I found that timers work best so that they are brushing for the two minutes as required and they seem to make a game of it. I also both them spin brushes that they could decorate themselves. They seemed to enjoy that. As well, the coloured mouth rinses for pre-brushing they liked because it stained their teeth and they found that to be cool……………go figure! Just remember if all else fails bribing usually works best…………..lol…………….just kidding!

  • dplavins

    I remember when my son was little having to wrestle him to the floor and put him in a headlock to brush his teeth, wow he hated brushing teeth. Now he has good oral care habits but unfortunately is prone to many cavities. My 2 daughters have great teeth though.

  • Guppy

    My son gets to choose his products so he’s more inclined to use them. He likes bublegum flavoured character toothpaste, light up toothbrushes, toy story floss sticks and of course Smart Rinse and Agent Cool Blue rinses!We use a small digital timer to ensure he does his 2 minute brush and one minute rinse. Just fiddling with that keeps him interested in brushing regularly.

  • KittyPride

    The kids need reminding to brush their teeth most nights, brush, floss and swish is my chant ;) One good tip I have though is to leave a bit of toothpaste in your mouth when you are flossing, as the toothpaste gets in between the teeth and helps to protect and clean out the debris.

  • calmas

    I used to have to remind my kids to brush their teeth in the morning at night, but now that they are older it is a habit. Unfortunately, flossing is one of the things that aren’t done very often.

  • Karen

    Brushing, flossing, and listerine is a fun bedtime ritual in our house…..and the kids have zero cavities!! :)

  • Shelley

    My daughter is pretty good at brushing her teeth. She uses the smart rinse and it helps show her if she has done a good job at brushing her teeth or not.

  • kenaimom

    We use electric toothbrushes and the flossing picks to make it easier for the kids. Makes for more complete cleaning without the headache!

  • Tt

    Easy, peasy when you tell them they can stay up 15 more minutes if their teeth are brushed and pass the inspection. Works everytime.:)

  • Tanya

    My kids are awesome at brushing their teeth. I was worried once my son got braces, but now he pays extra attention to taking care of his teeth!

  • babylove818

    I had a teacher in Grade 4 that the easiest way is to sing a song and when you finish the song then you should be finished brushing your teeth. So the idea is to pick a song that you know all of it and sing it. To this day I still sing and all three of my kids (7, 16 and 19) sing their own. To help things out my husband installed a radio that gets put on in the morning and shut off after brushing. Hey it worked and is working for me so strike up the band and give it a try.

  • ehelfand

    My kids are teens and they do not want to floss.

  • Trish

    Well for the most part my kids tend to willingly brush and floss regularly. I found that letting them choose their own brush and toothpaste and buying the single flossing sticks in fun colours helps. I’ll have to try this Listerine Smart Rinse! :)

  • ik

    I brushing teeth together with my kids and playing “”counting games” (mentally count) toothbrush movements and 1, and 2…in the middle, and 1. and 2.. to the left… and so on.

  • jenna3967

    I always tried to make toothbrushing fun by introducing fun toothbrushes and toothpaste. They always looked at it like getting a new toy. So tooth brushing has always been good for my boys, I have never had to fight to get them to brush.

  • globalgold

    I find my children are more apt to brush and floss if we have a ‘logo’ toothpaste and a fancy brush. Flossing needs to be a game with a small reward before the brushing procedure begins.

  • centis1999

    My kids use an electric toothbrush to help clean better. I get then a few kinds of toothpaste with exciting characters on them. I also do use the smart rinse. My kids visit the dentist every year with great teeth,

  • yana

    I bought a sand clock for teeth brushing. You turn it when you start brushing and you know that you’re not done until all the moved to the lower half. And of course flavored tooth pastes help kids to like teeth brushing too :)

  • Shelly

    Using kids mouth rinses seems to encourage my sons to brush longer. Unfortunately even the novelty of that wears off and then I have to resort to nagging.

  • mtibergh

    the gums at the top of the mouth are usually very ticklish…so a soft brush, some yummy toothpaste, and a little tickle really helps with the little ones. Bigger ones always respond to money, and allowance is based on daily responsibilities, including teeth brushing!

  • AmandaC3

    this stuff was absolutly awesome my kids love it and now they actually enjoy cleaning there teeth we had such a hard time with my youngest but now that she sees the other two she wants to join in we got a small hourglass timer and we make a game of it to see who has the cleanest teeth after 60 seconds of brushing who ever has the cleanest teeth gets to rinse first it has made my morning so much easier i am glad to have been choosen as a tester for this thank you very much for the opportunity as i do not think i would have tried it on my own but from now on it will be a staple in my home and a definit daily must have i have even caught my hubby trying it a few times now lol he insists its the cleaning propertys to it but im sure its the fun pink goop in the sink that keeps him coming back lol boys will be boys no matter what age…

  • jzmome

    Getting my son to brush has been a war fight from the start. It still is an ongoing war. I have tried everything, letting him pick his toothbrush and toothpaste nothing has worked. I have just recently started a reward calendar for every time he brushes he gets a sticker at the end of the week if he has at least 14 stickers (2 per day). Then we go somewhere special, it’s usually the splashpad. This seems to be working as we are now into week three. So fingers crossed.

  • shanegroup1

    When my kids were little, we brushed their teeth for them. This taught them this was something that is part of your routine. When they were able, they took over.

  • P.Thomas

    what worked for us is using the Rinse and making sure you take the kids to a regular dental appointment, a new toothbush was a hit and also showing pictures of before and after you brush your teeth. Also what was good too was a good electric toothbrush

  • amberleah

    We only use organic toothpaste and when the kids got older they would pick out usually mint or spearmint. I would also use special toothbrushes that they picked out and we always had no troubles brushing there teeth.

  • gofforever

    we had a little timer in the bathroom to make sure then kids brushed long enough

  • sensfan4eva

    My son loves to brush his teeth, every few months we let him pick out the toothbrush that he likes, I find if he had a hand in picking it out he is way more enthusiastic about brushing his teeth. We have recently introduced listerine smart wash into his daily routine and he loves doing it, he actually will remind ME sometimes if he hasnt done it yet. Keeping the routine fun and exciting for him is what makes him enjoy doing it so much. He has been to the dentist several times who says he has very healthy teeth!

  • jalmgiven

    We used a musical toothbrush to make things fun and bought the disney logo toothpaste because the kids loved anything disney.

  • lisa

    My kids are 9 and 11. We still have an issues. My son just whips a toothbrush in his mouth and says he did it, I still look at his teeth every couple of days o see if he actually brushed, usually he hasn’t done a good job. So brushing is still an issue at our house. Thanks

  • Nicole Bonito

    I have a two year old that I’m working on getting into the habit of brushing his teeth. Every bath in the evening we both brush our teeth together so he can see and imitate my brushing. Works well!

  • hmrcarlson

    I bought “Smile Buddy” toothbrush kits which includes toothbrush, toothpaste, a little sand timer, disposable flossers and stickers. My girls loved them and they definitely encouraged active brushing and flossing.

  • shar108

    My kids are good brushers. We got them each an electric toothbrush with a 2 minute timer so that helps. Also we got them the floss picks so it is easier to get them to floss.

  • lbunin

    With our toddler, the best strategy is “mummy’s turn” and then “Jacob’s turn” … that way I get to brush them clean and he knows he’ll get a chance to brush on his own, too. We also sing Raffi’s “Brush your teeth” song while we brush :)

  • drmichb

    an important part of my kids willingness to brush is the flavour of the toothpaste. If they don’t like it, they won’t spend as long brushing. Discovering the Listerine Smart Rinse has been a great incentive for my children to brush longer, and better. They both think it is a contest to see who has cleaner teeth now. And they willingly brush more often now!

  • mom2boysandagirl

    We call them sugar bugs too! We tested the Listerine Rinse and the kids loved it. They like to see if they have done a good job.
    Before that, we have a different toothpaste for each kid, depending on what they like. It makes it easier to go and use their ‘special’ toothpaste.

  • mommymar

    My steps to success with brushing & using “Smart Rinse”:
    1. Read LOTS of story books about “Teeth” and “Brushing”
    2. Have my son pick his own “spinbrush” from the store. (Super Hero Characters)
    3. Started off with “Kid Flavoured” toothpaste (chose his fav flavour), then moved slowly to different flavours etc…
    4. Had my son brush his teeth in the am and at night with Daddy. Daddy “modelled” tooth brushing procedues….and mouth wash.
    5. Chose a flavour mouthwash son would like. Even allowed him to pick brand (liked a super hero character on bottle.
    6. Made it FUN with the mouth wash. “Swishing games” and “Spitting” in the sink.
    7. At the gebinning had reward charts…now he brushes independantly and “shops” for his own “toothbrushing supplies” at the store with Mommy.

  • sisson64

    It’s been a struggle, especially with my son. He doesn’t like the taste of mint, did you know that even fruit flavoured toothpaste has mint in it? The trick was trying a bunch and finding one that was actually fruit flavoured with no mint. Now he has braces, so it’s still a bit of a struggle, but finding actual ‘fruit flavoured’ toothpaste was a major breakthrough when he was younger.

  • Bree

    My boys love brushing their teeth! I still help them brush and then they get to do it themselves. I let them choose their own toothbrushes at the store. I can’t wait until they are big enough to use Listerine – my stepkids use it all the time and love it!

  • gizfarris

    I think those new recharcheable toothbrushes with the timers are great for the kids. They get to watch the timer and when the happy face comes up they know that they have brushed their teeth long enough.

  • outasite

    As an older woman who was not taught to brush, I realize the importance. Our little guy is encouraged by doing anything we can but flavors are always the kicker.

  • sparky

    I find that my kids are eager to brush when I buy toothpaste that has a fun flavour, like bubblegum.

  • ArashNaghdi

    I buy toothbrushes that glow when you brush the tooth, it works!

  • angsur

    I recommend starting young, so they are just used to it.

  • jrobbies

    My daughter is only a year old, but I constantly have struggles trying to get her baby teeth brushed (the 4 that she has that is). I find singing and me brushing my own teeth help (sometimes :)

  • bushcampcafe

    i bought my granddaughter an electric toothbrush that has a monitor that lets her know after she has brushed for 2 minutes…she is really excited about brushing her teeth so she can see the little guy on the monitor smile after the 2 minutes is up!

  • brandylcat

    I let my kids choose their own toothpaste, floss, and brushes. They love to pick out different designs and flavours and that definitely encourages them to be using them as they should.

  • pairofdox

    With the new electronic brushes, getting kids to brush their teeth is becoming a lot easier than before. The only thing now is to make sure they will brush for a sufficient amount of time.

  • retromusic

    My kiddies don’t listen to mommy or daddy, (surprise, surprise!)
    So when my three boys go to the visit the denist, I will have the dentist explain to them the importance of brushing and the demonstrate the proper technique. Once we get home, it’s always a, “Remember what Dr. John said…” which almost always ensures for compliance.

  • hopebc62

    ‘BRUSHING MY TEETH’, a fun book i found and bought on an online website.
    The photos are kid-friendly and the rhyming text is pretty simple. it is easy to read to & with a child, as it also shows how to brush in pretty good detail (for how long, with what, why it’s important to let mom or dad brush our teeth, etc.). In it one also learns about eating healthy foods for the sake of our teeth, and that it’s important to visit the dentist once a year. It’s a A fun and practical guide to healthy teeth and a sparkling smile! The child can find out how often they need to brush and the right way to do it, and they learn the importance of a healthy diet and regular dental check-ups. As they learn, then the dentist visit follows with hardly any worries!

  • slp

    Best thing that worked is getting a Spiderman electric toothbrush anfpd toothpaste in an appealing flavour

  • Aliya D.

    The kiddos are really good brushers (now)… I struggled a little in emphasizing the importance of oral hygiene because they were either too little to understand or would just rather be doing something else (more fun). So one day (after a particularly trying brushing battle), I went online and printed off a picture of what rotting teeth look like on a severe Meth addict… I showed it to the kiddos informing them that that is what teeth look like after not brushing them properly and regularly. That scared them straight pretty quickly; I know this sounds a little mean, but sometimes you have to use shock to get a point across. Being older now, they understand why brushing and flossing are so important on an intellectual level.

  • janetm

    I had a kitchen timer in the bathroom and the kids liked to time themselves brushing as a little competition. It worked.

  • deb

    I never had a problem at all, they knew that they had to brush or else lose all theur teeth like grampa did – that was motivation enough!

  • Marlene V.

    For my son — who is a terrible brusher — it’s built into his daily routine. On the fridge he has a checklist for the morning and then for the evening. Brushing his teeth is one of the items on both lists. If he gets his list all checked off everyday we give him a star and then when he gets a certain amount of stars he gets a treat. He helps decide the treat and the amount of stars to get it that seems fair.

  • Debra B

    Get them involved and make it fun, they pick the brushes they want and the toothpaste they like. I’m lucky that they already know the dentist outside the office, so they actually don’t mind going.

  • Jennifer R

    My oldest daughter hates to brush her teeth and the youngest one doesn’t mind as long as she has her favourite toothbrush and toothpaste. The same thing doesn’t work for both kids so I think its important to also remind them why we need to take good care of our teeth. Hopefully they understand that taking care of our bodies, including our teeth, leads to other healthy habits.

  • janna_fraser

    I introduces good dental hygiene from a young age so it’s now part of our routine. I let my son pick out his own toothbrushes and toothpastes.

  • andrew_fraser

    Introduce fun into the routine with an interesting toothbrush and set a timer to make sure the child brushes for at least one minute. Reinforce how much better a clean mouth feels and how the teeth must be taken care of.

  • spamgirl

    Never had a problem – I brushed her teeth until she was old enough to do it on her own, and then she took over. Major dental issues as a small child probably impacted her in the right way.

  • Tracey

    Brushing before bedtime was a real struggle until I bought an electric toothbrush for kids – that seem to make it entertaining and fun.

  • pinecone

    My daughter was always pretty good about taking care of her teeth and as an adult she still is. I’ve had so much dental work in my life it’s amazing that I still even go to a dentist. I wish they had Smart Rinse when I was a kid!

  • Al

    My tip is to use different flavours of tooth paste for your kids

  • morgan22

    I try to make it fun! I sing the ABC’s while my son brushes so that he knows how long to brush his teeth for. The spiderman toothbrush and rinsing cup helps to keep him enthused as well!!

  • CC

    We also tried different flavours of toothpastes and different kinds of “character” toothbrushes, but buying them both their own digital kitchen timers that they were allowed to set and watch the time countdown as they brushed was the real ticket for us!

  • Anu

    My youngest always has cavities everytime we visit the dentist. After we introduced the SmartRinse, the number of cavities per visit has been reduced – thankfully! He really likes the bubblegum flavor of SmartRinse. My eldest son has autism so I have to brush his teeth for him and we have to take him to a “special” dentist in order to get his cleaning and x-rays done. It’s a challenge but he lets me brush his teeth … flossing, well – that’s another story altogether! I like usually the spin brushes for my kids.

  • canadadrygreentea

    I find the most important thing to be is that the kids are rewarded in some sort of fashion on a regular basis for doing the proper brushing and flossing. What kid doesn’t like a prize for doing well? :D

  • Ettalie

    For us making it fun is the way to go. Seeing how many times one brushes on each side, who can make the most foam, or who takes “extra care in brushing” works.

  • Tampa77

    My mom did it with me and I do the same…when it’s time for bed, we are together in the bathroom and I will brush my teeth at the same time, do this at a young age and the children want to do like mommy! In the morning, I do the same ! We have no problems!

  • ghisl

    Make it a game and the kids will enjoy it and want to do it.

  • DL

    Make brushing part of the bed-time routine and it becomes habit

  • murphy

    My kids love to brush their teeth with spin brushes. In fact, they don’t even need a reminder.

  • Janette

    What a constant battle it was. There would be tears and threats of them leaving the house even at a very young age. They unfortunately lived in two homes and both had very different hygiene requirements. Needless to say this made the task even more difficult. I know we never did win the war. They all required major dental work/surgery which required sedation. To this day their dental hygiene is way below standards.

  • flower

    Starting young sure is the key!

  • Me

    I would let him pick out his own tooth brush and tooth paste. When we went to get checkups and teeth where good he would get a gift.

  • ginette4

    I have never struggled with my girls to brush their teeth, I guess the saying monkey see monkey do, I brush my teeth daily, I started brushing their teeth when they were young. We always brushed our teeth together.

  • freddybob

    My kids have always been really good at brushing their teeth without a whole lot of prompting, barely any cavities over the years!

  • Nico

    My kids always love getting a new toothbrush and I find when they pick it out themselves, they are even more anxious to use it.

  • NinaH

    We would try using toothpastes that had different flavours, such as bubblegum or fruit flavours and seeing which ones our daughter liked.

  • Lorie S

    My son brushes his teeth no problem, but with my daughter its always a war. To help with this she gets to pick out her own special toothbrush and toothpaste. She also now brushes her teeth with daddy and all this combined has made a big difference.v

  • selbys

    We didn’t have any trouble. Started very young and when they were already :brushing” we were reading books about teeth and the dentist.

  • chralex

    I always check and my kids aren’t young. Teeth are for a life time even if they have not figured this out yet. For each tooth it is a count of 123 and then down away from the gum. I want to her the counting out loud. Then we use a rinse or mouthwash to help to get anything we missed. If if takes less than 2 minutes it hasn’t been done properly.

  • Yvonne

    With a newborn, I haven’t reached this stage yet. However, reading all these tips will come in handy in the future!

  • tinad

    I got the kids interested in it by letting them pick out their own toothbrushes (this is something that we do everytime they need to be replaced) and we try to brush all together. I think it’s great to have the kids brush with us, and then they can learn by example. We also have a really great dentist and she helps by teaching the kids what they need to do, and why it’s important.

  • chachacha

    My kids always like the character brushes too, and the dentist says that they’re good brushers.

  • dolcevita

    I got the kids toothbrushes that look like light sabers and the light tells them when to switch to the top of their mouth …..they love it so much that they brush 2-3 times a day!! It’s great that they love to brush their teeth!!

  • nikkialeta

    I struggle a bit with my two year old, she’s starting to make it part of her morning and evening routine, as it’s part of ours. The best way we get her excited about it is by having a special toothbrush and two different kinds of toothpaste for her to choose from. Either one she chooses is fine, but she feels like she’s “winning”.

  • Betty

    I buy toothbrushes with their favourite characters. Our dentist gave us an hourglass timer, that reminds them to continue brushing

  • mattsaunders77

    I try to buy fun toothbrushes and get special toothpastes to try to get my little ones to brush their teeth. Getting them to floss is a bit more difficult.

  • elizamatt

    one of my sons (5 yrs old) was adamant at the dentists – there was no way he would open his mouth, the dentist & I tried everything and I knew he had a cavity or two for sure. We went back and forth back and forth, all to no avail so after a few weeks a panorama Xray of his teeth was done and sure enough he needed fillings. In the end he had to be taken to hospital and have a full anaesthetic so that they sort his teeth out. Thankfully he grew up to appreciate taking care of his teeth and now has no problems.

  • Silvana

    I’ve read the comments and article and all are good. I’ve come to believe it just takes persistence and practise over and over again to get the kids to brush their teeth and properly. Making brushing as much fun as possible helps so it does not seem like a chore.

  • Brenda

    I let the kids pick out their own toothpaste, so that helps a little with getting them to brush. We just recently started buying the Listerine Smart Rinse for them and they enjoy using it. They are pretty good brushers for the most part, but my youngest is notorious for not brushing the back so well. The Smart Rinse makes me feel a little better about it until he learns to start brushing better.

  • tektite

    For me, what helped was starting when my child is at a young age and also always brushing TOGETHER with my child. It was easier to encourage my son to do something when I was doing it as well.

  • AgnesM

    I found that playing a song like “The Alphabet Song” twice through(two kids) while they are brushing makes the time pass quickly and we get great results on the brushing! The flossing is easier, too, when we use the cute little dental wands!

  • Iris

    I always had a bed time routine when the kids were little which involved a nutritious snack like an apple, a bath and then storytime. We always liked to have the children brush their teeth before story time could begin so there was a reward of a story to look forward to after teeth brushing. I also let them choose their own toothbrush from the store so they would get excited about their toothbrush.

  • p23ag

    We’ve gone through buying kid friendly toothpastes, cute toothbrushes but it seems to come down to explaining healthy teeth will usually require less dentist attention and if the toothbrush isn’t in your mouth as lobng as it takes to sing Happy birthday in your head it is probable that a tooth didn’t get it’s share of attention.

  • Nate3333

    I make it fun for the kids when brushing their teeth

  • nicka

    I found that starting the kids off participating in brushing their teeth at a very young age made it easier for them to accept brushing as a part of their regular routines as they got older.

  • margel

    I get the kids to brush longer and more thoroughly by making it a game to see which child can brush the longest. I keep a little chart showing the daily winner, and we see who’s the big winner at the end of each week. This really helps to make brushing fun and motivate them to brush longer.

  • lucky

    I get the kids to brush by making it more fun with cute toothbrushes in their favourite characters like Disney or Spiderman brushes.

  • Lynne

    My tip is to make brushing fun and to start at a really young age. Get your kids use to brushing and they will have good habits for the rest of their lives.

  • Bella

    I can’t get my kids to floss their teeth. Brushing is easy but getting them to commit to flossing is impossible.

  • MomX2

    My kids are good brushers…but they do need to be reminded to brush their teeth. Unfortunately my youngest daughter is prone to cavities. I’m hoping that when her adult teeth come in they won’t be as susceptible to cavities.

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