Start with a visit to your dentist. A dental professional will teach your child the proper way to brush, using kid-friendly words.
Let your child pick out her own toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many colorful child-sized toothbrushes on the market, as well as toothpastes in flavors that appeal to kids. Just make sure that the toothbrush has soft, or very soft, rounded bristles so they don’t damage your child’s gums or tooth enamel.
Be sure your child uses only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on her brush. If your child doesn’t like toothpaste, don’t sweat it! Kids tend to swallow toothpaste anyway, and it’s important that they not get too much fluoride. You don’t want dental hygiene sessions to turn into a battle.
If you have more than one bathroom, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste for her in each one to make brushing more convenient.
Using stickers or some other artwork, make little signs to put on your child’s plate at mealtime, or on her pillow before bed, reminding her to brush.
Brush your pet’s teeth, and let your child help or at least watch. Not only does this reinforce the idea that clean teeth are important, it’s also good for your pet.
Praise their brushing efforts and the results they’re producing. Try saying “Your teeth are so sparkly!” or “Your breath smells so good!” They’ll be delighted that you noticed, and the positive effects of brushing will be reinforced.
Try sharing some books about dental hygiene with your child. Some good ones are Dragon Teeth and Parrot Beaks – Even Creatures Brush Their Teeth by Almute Grohmann and Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer.
You and your child can make up silly toothbrushing songs set to familiar melodies like “The ABC Song,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
And finally, because children learn by example, be sure your child sees you brushing and flossing your own teeth every single day. It’s good for them and good for you!