How to Encourage Children to Look After Their Teeth

How to Encourage Children to Look After Their Teeth
portrait of happy asian family brush their teeth together in bathroom sink. parent brush teeth and take care of kid

When you become a parent, there’s just a myriad of responsibilities you’ll have to fulfill, regarding the health of your children. The goal is to give your kids the best overall health. With this, it’s very important that you don’t just focus on the physical health itself. Take into consideration every single detail of their body, including oral health.

A child’s oral health is just as important as any other body part. This is true, even if your kids still have baby teeth. Because this is such a small part of their body, it’s really not as difficult for you to practice good oral health. The only challenge lies in how you can make your kids understand the real importance of taking good care of their teeth. Remember that it’s very important to establish these habits at a very young age, so they can carry it with them as they grow older. Even more importantly, it’s often easier to be proactive about your approach, rather than go through all the trouble of having to treat these problems later on.

There are many things you can do for your child to help them learn to keep their teeth healthy and strong. Here are some tips to help you encourage children to be responsible and take care of their teeth.

  1. Create a Good Relationship with a Dentist You Can Trust Early On

The average earliest time of a first dental visit is around two to three years old. However, it’s better if you start early. If you can start when they’re a year old and they already have a few of their teeth sprouting, then so much the better. That way, you’re giving your child a good opportunity to familiarize themselves with the dentist. This can avoid all the anxiety and tantrums that most kids may experience during their first dental visit.

If you can find a good dentist with whom you can develop a good relationship early on, then stay with that. Avoid changing from one dentist to another, as this will only cause even more stranger anxiety for your young child. Remember that young kids are creatures of habit. The more that they get used to the face of your dentist, the higher the likelihood of your kids getting comfortable with the regular dentist visits.

How to Encourage Children to Look After Their Teeth
How to Encourage Children to Look After Their Teeth

Here are other tips you should be guided by throughout the dental visits:

  • While there are many things that happen during this first visit, being able to listen to what your child has to say is very important. Even if they’re very young, kids are very receptive to the surroundings around them. They also know very well how to articulate their feelings. When you listen to them, they actually feel as if they have a say throughout the process, and not merely something they’re dragged into.
  • Give your child a tour around the dental clinic. A good family- or pedia-dentist from will have a very child-friendly looking clinic. There will be toys, and other child-friendly things to make kids feel more comfortable.
  • Be present during the dental appointments and explain to them what the dentist is doing to their teeth. That way, they don’t have to feel intimidated and afraid by all of the equipment that the dentist is using.
  1. Let Your Kids Choose Their Own Toothpaste and Toothbrush

On your next grocery run, bring your kids with you. As you let them choose their snacks, let them choose their own toothpaste and toothbrush, too. Thankfully, kids’ toothbrushes and toothpaste today are as playful as they can be. They come in all sorts of characters and colors. Some even come with musical sounds, playing a song to signify the length of brushing time.

Children’s toothpaste also comes in a variety of flavors. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate
  • Bubblegum
  • Tutti Frutti

When your kids love how their toothpaste tastes and how their toothbrush looks, they become more inclined to use them. This can help make brushing time fun!

  1. Talk to Them about What the Toothbrush is Doing to Their Teeth

You can’t expect very young children to fully understand what a toothbrush actually does on their own. It’s up to you as the parent to explain this function to them. However, don’t be too technical, as kids will have a harder time understanding this. Do it in a form of a story, or in the same manner as to how you talk playfully to your kids.

For example, your little one has just attended a birthday party where they’ve enjoyed sugary treats like cupcakes and cotton candy. So, when you get home, talk to them like, “Remember all that strawberry icing you have? Well, it’s making your teeth icky and yucky and Mrs. Toothbrush will have to clean it all up. Why not let’s go ahead and let Mrs. Toothbrush work its magic so you can have sparkly, shiny teeth again?”

This can encourage a conversation with your kids about brushing their teeth, which will also keep them more interested to do so.

  1. Read Stories about Brushing Your Teeth

If your kid loves to have bedtime stories, take advantage of this time to educate them about brushing their teeth! Go to your local bookstore and hunt for children’s books that focus on the brushing of teeth as its subject. Many of these children’s books are illustrated and written for it to be fun and toddler-appropriate.

The more that your kids hear about this and see that it’s covered in their books, then the higher the chances of your kids will copy this healthy habit as well.

On the days that you allow your kids to have their screen time, you can also show them the fun videos surrounding the importance of taking good care of their teeth.

  1. Play Music When Your Kids Brush Their Teeth

The key to making kids do chores is to make it fun for them. If brushing their teeth seems like a chore for them, then play around some music. If there’s a “toothbrush” song or anything of that sort, then play it. That way, your kids won’t have to feel that absolute dreaded silence when brushing their teeth.

Another very good advantage of playing music as your child brushes their teeth is that you’re actually hitting two birds with one stone. Dentists recommend that the length of brushing one’s teeth should be around two minutes. When you play two-minute songs during this brush time, you’re ensuring that this requirement is met.

  1. Brush Your Teeth Together

Kids often mirror the behavior of adults, particularly those that they look up to. Because you’re their parents, they’ll naturally follow what you do and how you do it. Take advantage of this by showing the right things to do. This includes brushing their teeth. Rather than force them to do it all on their own, why not turn this into a family affair. Brush your teeth together.

When you’re a busy parent, this also works best for your schedule. Remember that kids will still have to be supervised while brushing their teeth until they’re around eight years old. This means that you’ve got no other choice anyway but to be with them in the bathroom. Rather than simply watch them, brush your teeth during that time, too.

  1. Create a Reward System

No, you don’t have to treat your kid after every single time they brush their teeth. But you can create a long-term reward system. For instance, having a rewards chart, just like their chores. When they complete a certain number of stars on their chart, they get a treat.

The treat here doesn’t have to be candy or anything sweet, as that defeats the purpose. You can prepare small, cheap toys. It can also be a trip to the arcade or an extra few minutes of screen time. Whatever makes your kid excited, go for it.

  1. Create a Routine

As mentioned briefly earlier in the above sections, children are creatures of habit. When you’re trying to instill good practice in them, it pays to have it done through a routine. That way, they’ll know exactly when to expect brushing time.

Routines are very important for children. It’s the only way that they can train their minds or create a fixed schedule like their mealtimes and bedtimes. When they’re able to identify certain activities as a part of their routine, they’ll feel like it’s something they’ll absolutely have to accomplish every day, or else their day won’t be complete.


In protecting your child’s teeth, one of the very first things you can do is to develop good oral hygiene early on. The more that your kids are familiar with all of the good habits, the more that they can apply and bring these with them when they grow older. Oral hygiene shouldn’t be that difficult to apply and practice at home. These tips are only a few of the many that you can apply. But now that you’ve got a good head start, it’s not too late to start today with applying these. Remember that among others, good oral health should also be a top priority for your kids.

I'm NOT a doctor! I'm just passionate about health and healthy leaving. The information on this website, such as graphics, images, text and all other materials, is provided for reference and educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. The content is not intended to be complete or exhaustive or to apply to any specific individual's medical condition.