Why Do Children Dislike Brushing Their Teeth? Here’s how to help them fight tooth decay.

14 Aug

As loving parents, it is shocking to discover that tooth decay is still one of the most common childhood diseases in the U.S. It is also saddening to learn that children who live in poor conditions are thought to suffer from tooth decay twice as much as their richer counterparts; a concerning statistic considering the fact that this same demographic is also less likely to receive the necessary treatment.

Why do Children Dislike Brushing their Teeth? on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Thankfully, there are a whole host of creative ways to get children to brush their teeth on a regular basis, keeping tooth decay at bay. It’s just a question of identifying why your child doesn’t like keeping his or her teeth clean, so that you can then take the appropriate action to find an effective solution.

Is your child suffering from sensitive teeth?

As parents, it’s important to remember that children don’t always not want to do something just to be difficult. If your child seems to have a real aversion to teeth brushing, it’s possible that he or she is suffering from a sensory impediment. Experience shows that it’s a good idea to test the sensitive nature of your child’s gums before assuming that he or she simply doesn’t want to brush their teeth.

Some children, on the other hand, crave sensory stimulation, which means they want to clamp down on the toothbrush instead of maneuvering it as part of the normal brushing action.

The good thing is that there are a number of tricks you can try to combat sensitivity issues. You can try brushing teeth with something other than a toothbrush – like a piece of gauze – or you might even want to explore different brands of toothpaste, particularly those that offer a range of flavors.

Are you taking the fun out of teeth brushing?

We know from experience that bath time can be a really fun activity for young children. They get to play in the water, take their toys into the bath with them, splash mommy or daddy whenever they want to and even listen to music. Brushing teeth, on the other hand, is nowhere near as exciting.

So, get creative and let the silly person inside of you break free. You may just find that it’s all that’s needed to make teeth brushing aversions a thing of the past. Here’s a few ideas for teeth brushing games you could try:

-A game of hide-and-seek in which you pretend to spot small pieces of food in your child’s mouth until you’ve managed to make him or her brush every single tooth.

-Be silly by brushing more than just teeth. Let your child brush his or her nose, chin and cheeks in an attempt to make the activity as fun as possible.

-Invent a song that you sing from start to finish when it’s time for teeth brushing. This will encourage your child to want to brush his or her teeth, just as a way of getting you to sing the song.

Do you practice what you preach?

Be honest. Are you just standing behind your child at the sink, demanding that he or she brush their teeth without giving them the chance to see you brushing your teeth? If you are, you might be making things more difficult than they need to be.

One of the best ways of getting children to do something without being asked is to show them that it’s what you do. Our children love doing what we do. It’s how they learn and how they develop their early routines, likes and dislikes.

We’re more likely to inspire our children by flaunting our pearly whites at them in the mirror than we are by outlining the many long-term consequences of not brushing every day. Logic is never going to be as motivational for a child as simply being the perfect model for positive dental habits.

Whatever the issues may be, try to remember that teeth brushing, like everything else, takes time and practice. Be patient and have a little faith. If you put the effort in to being creative with teeth brushing time, you’ll soon start to see small improvements.

Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

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