Incentives for kids to brush

by: Sandy Johnson, RDH

If your kids are the type that hate brushing their teeth – and let’s face it, that’s a lot of kids – you’ve probably felt pretty exasperated with the process a few times yourself. It can be a chore to get kids to brush, but there are ways to make it easier.

One of those ways is to offer healthy and fun incentives. 

A good way to start out is to create an oral health chart. Every time your child brushes their teeth without having to be reminded, give them a sticker on the chart. Let them choose the sticker and place it on the chart. It creates a feeling of ownership within your child and encourages responsibility. (You can use something other than stickers if that’s easier.)

Set a goal for how many stickers they should earn, or a goal for how many stickers in a row they need, and once they reach it, award them with a prize or a special activity. For example:

Healthy snacks. Some sugar-free fruit snacks taste just like the real thing, and to a trip to the frozen yogurt stand is also a great idea. The key is to pick something that your child only gets if he brushes his teeth.

Let them pick out a toy at the toy store. Or keep a drawer of small toys at home – just like the dentist’s office!

Go out for a fun activity. If you can, pick a location that you only visit with your child when the healthy tooth chart has been completed. That will teach your child to associate healthy teeth with fun.

Whatever method you choose, stay persistent and tell us your tips! Good oral health reflects good overall health, and learning how to keep teeth clean is an important lesson to learn for kids and parents alike.

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