What to Do If Your Kid Won’t Brush Their Teeth

tooth brushes of different colors - kid won't brush teeth

What to Do If Your Kid Won’t Brush Their Teeth

You did everything right. You started brushing your child’s teeth early. You take them to the dentist for a checkup every six months. You even helped them kick the thumb sucking habit. But getting them to brush their teeth every night? Not yet.

Don’t feel bad if you can’t get your kid to brush their teeth every time. Parenting is exhausting, and sometimes it’s okay to miss a night here or there. But if your kid won’t brush their teeth, here are a few ideas on how to make brushing more fun so they can build healthy habits.  

Making Brushing Fun Doesn’t Have to Take Hours

The wonderful thing about these tips is that they are flexible. Spend as little or as much time with these activities. The only goal here is to make brushing exciting!

1: Let Your Child Choose Their Tools 

Being able to pick out their very own toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouth rinse (if they’re over 6) can help give children a sense of ownership over a mandatory activity. Some children shy away from brushing because it feels uncomfortable, so encourage them toward soft-bristled toothbrushes. 

2: Sing a Song 

Kids love to sing, so try singing a toothbrush song! This one to the tune of “Row Row Row Your Boat” (we love an easy melody) is informative, easy to remember, and pretty fun for younger kids. 

“Brush, brush, brush your teeth 

Gently round your gums. 

The front, the sides, the back, the top

Brushing is such fun!

Brush, brush, brush your teeth

Brush them every day. 

The front, the sides, the back, the top 

To keep decay away!”

This song also works if you replace the word “brush” with “floss” or “rinse,” making it nice and versatile. 

3: Make It a Game

Depending on your child, a little friendly competition might be just what you need to get those teeth brushed. Some fun games include: 

  • Racing to your toothbrush
  • Seeing how fast you can get the toothpaste on
  • Hide-and-seek (toothbrush and toothpaste edition) 
  • Who can get their teeth the cleanest? 

4: Let Them Brush Anywhere

While this practice is not ideal (especially for kids who really enjoy the spitting part of brushing their teeth) sometimes the best thing you can do is let your kid brush wherever they want to. In the backyard, next to the dog, or in front of a screen—no matter where they are, their teeth are at least getting clean! 

The Importance of Daily Brushing 

Baby teeth are not just “practice teeth”—they serve essential functions and they can get cavities, too. Tooth decay is often accompanied by pain or irritation, making your child more picky about their food. 

Baby teeth also help create space for permanent teeth to grow. Cavities can lead to infections or premature tooth loss. When a baby tooth falls out too early, the permanent tooth can drift, causing crowding and a misaligned bite or even speech impediments. 

If your kid just hates brushing their teeth, remember that a good oral health routine does not have to be complicated. Adding too much too quickly could overwhelm your kiddo, making a routine difficult to maintain. Focus on brushing at the same time every day, then as they get older, add in morning brushing, flossing, and mouth rinse one at a time.

The Best Dentist Is One That Your Child Can Trust

Kids need a dental checkup every 6 months. Starting these visits early can help your child build up a positive relationship with their dental health and taking care of their teeth. Having a dentist that they like and trust goes a long way toward making brushing more fun. 

The friendly team at Hicks Dental Group will help you to keep your kid’s teeth healthy and their smile bright. Call us today to schedule an appointment. 




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/19/23). Photo by amirhosein esmaeili on Unsplash.