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Help! My Child Hates Brushing Their Teeth

You know it’s your job as a parent to help your kids build healthy habits. Teeth brushing is a huge part of that. But if your child hates this step in their daily routine, you might feel pretty stuck. 

You’re not alone. Kids’ refusal to brush their teeth is extremely common. While that’s not great news for parents, it does mean that the experts have some tried-and-true recommendations.

Irene Zaki, DDS, and our team gathered up a few of our top tips. As a pediatric dentistry expert, Dr. Zaki is no stranger to children who push back against tooth brushing. She helps your family navigate this challenge and provides support through your child’s regular teeth cleanings at Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry in Riverside, California. This way, even if their teeth brushing leaves something to be desired, their teeth get a thorough clean regularly. 

Still, you do want your child to get in the healthy habit of brushing their teeth twice a day — and you don’t want it to feel like pulling teeth each time. We have a few suggestions that may help. 

Get set up for success

Kids are sensitive. Their toothpaste flavor might be a big part of what makes this activity unpleasant. Take your child to the store with you and let them pick out the toothpaste flavor that sounds best to them. Try a few different options to see which they prefer. 

Keep an eye on them as they apply the toothpaste to their toothbrush. Kids only need a tiny amount — a dab the size of a grain of rice is sufficient when they’re young. Adding too much toothpaste can cause problems if they swallow it, so keeping the amount minimal can help them enjoy the activity more while protecting their health. 

Their toothbrush can also play a role. While you’re in the toothpaste aisle, let your child pick a toothbrush they’re excited to use. 

Also, some kids hate the feeling of cold water in their mouths. Running the tap until it’s lukewarm might make the activity more palatable. 

Make it as fun as possible

Playing their favorite song while they brush can help them warm up to the experience. 

It might also help to have them brush alongside you or any siblings. Making it a group activity — especially when other participants reinforce that it’s fun — can acclimate them to the daily routine. 

Another good trick is to pull in a favorite doll or stuffed animal and have your child “brush” their teeth. 

You can also search for episodes of shows they like about teeth brushing. Many children’s TV shows have featured beloved characters as they brush their teeth. 

Talk with Dr. Zaki

Our team is here to help you and your child figure out how to make teeth brushing an easy, enjoyable part of their daily routine. As Dr. Zaki gets to know your child, she can provide personalized suggestions based on their personality and preferences.

You don’t have to fight the teeth-brushing battle alone. Call Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry or request an appointment online today to help warm your child up to this crucial health habit.

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