If brushing teeth causes running battles in your house every evening, you are not alone. Many children don’t see the importance of sticking a plastic brush with awful paste in their mouth. It gets worse if you are taking them away from the TV or a game.

However, proper oral hygiene is important for kids as young as one. If primary teeth have to be removed because of decay, they affect teeth alignment and sometimes reduce the space for adult teeth. But how do you get your child to love taking care of their teeth?

Here are a few tips;

1. Brush together
Kids follow what their parents do more than what they say. The best way to make oral hygiene stick to your child’s head is to do it with them twice a day. Go to the bathroom with them every morning and every evening and brush your teeth and then floss together. You can play monkey see, monkey do or make jokes that you are attacking teeth monsters together.

2. Take them to the dentist
The dentist’s office is scary no matter how well you decorate it. Let your kids go there and hear the sound of that drill as it goes on and on. The office of Laura Miller DDS has an amazing camera used to teach patients about oral hygiene. Let the dentist have a chat with your child as they get a checkup on what will happen if they don’t take care of their teeth.

3. Don’t paint it in negative light
One of the reasons why kids hate brushing time is because they associate it with going to sleep. You stop them from watching TV so they can go brush and sleep. Brushing and flossing should be something kids associate with fun times. Brush right after dinner and then have a lot of fun during and maybe an hour or two before bed time.

4. Tell them stories
Kids love stories especially spooky ones. You can take the opportunity to tell them horrifying stories about not brushing their teeth when you are all in the bathroom brushing. Tell them about the sugar monsters that hide between their teeth and slowly eat them away until there is nothing left. There is nothing more powerful than a child’s imagination so use it wisely.

5. Use attractive brushing tools
Kids oral care should be as appealing as possible. Go shopping with your child and buy a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character. You should also get flavored baby toothpaste because it’s not as disgusting as adult toothpaste. Go a step further and even buy for them a brushing plastic glass with McQueen or Princess Sofia. Instead of thinking of brushing as a chore, it will seem more like playing with toys.

Leading by example is the most effective way of teaching kids about oral care. Make sure you only eat and serve the right foods to ensure you are not feeding plaque and bacteria. Finally, make a playful habit of smelling their mouths before they sleep or head out to school because no one likes halitosis.