Get Them to Brush: A Guide For Parents

Get Your Kids to Brush

Kids of all ages teens and toddlers (even the occasional adult child) need to be taught and reminded about dental health and its importance. The following tips can be used to help parents get a head start on dental heath for their family. With only 50% of the US population seeing a dentist regularly, every bit can help.

Some kids are better than others and take to brushing and flossing immediately, while some kids see taking care of their teeth as another fear chore. Help the kids  in your life see the importance of dental health with these creative tips and tricks.

Teach your kids about their teeth

For kids who don’t like to brush, simply handing them a toothbrush and tube of toothpaste is not going to cut it, you must do more. You can do more by teaching them all about their teeth. Help kids see the different types of teeth that are in their mouths. By explaining that each tooth has different shape, different job, and therefore a different location. There are four types of teeth: incisors, cuspids, bicuspids, and molars. Use the following information to help explain the teeth and their jobs:

  1. Incisors: Located in the front of the mouth (four up top and four on the bottom), the eight incisors have chisel-shaped crowns that cut food.
  2. Cuspids: Located next to each incisor, the four cuspids have pointed edges to tear food.
  3. Bicuspids: Loacted next to the cuspids, these four pairs of teeth crush and tear food.
  4. Molars: The 12 molars come in sets of three at the back of the mouth. The wide surfaces of these teeth grind food.

Read books about dental health

In addition to teach your kids about the teeth and their jobs you should read with your kids. It is easier for young kids to grasp dental health if they see the it illustrated in a book. From the time your children are infants, you should be incorporating books about oral hygiene, teeth brushing, and flossing. There are even books about visiting the dentist. Incorporate these in to their regular reading. This also can decrease your child’s anxiety and fear about the dentist. Ask your librarian to help you located dentist books. They might even be able to order some for you!

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a good resource for parents to find books that help explain dental health to your kids. Read “Visit the Dentist with Marty” at and let your kids play a game that teaches kids about healthy snacks called, “Let’s Raid The Kitchen!” on the hygienist’s portion of the ADA website.

Do an experiment

There are several websites available to parents that give step-by-step instructions and provide guided experiments that can make learning about dental health and oral hygiene more fun. Check out for information created by dentists for your younger children. Content ranges from sugar bugs to bad breath and covers everything in between.

Good luck, parents!! May the force be with you!

5 Things That Prove Your Dentist Isn’t Scamming You

1. Dental Assistant Recommends the Dentist

No one knows the Dentist better than the dental assistant. They know every corner they are willing to cut and every line they are willing to cross. So, does the assistant highly recommend the dentist? If you aren’t sure pull the assistant aside and have a word with her about your dental care. Does she advise you to follow the dentist’s instructions? Does she advise you to get a second opinion? Or, does she seem to respect the doctor and her medical opinion? If she does then you are in good hands.

2. Pushes Regular Hygiene Visits

I know, I know. You are rolling your eyes right now thinking that the dentist is laughing all the way to the bank, right? You couldn’t be further from the truth though. People who take care of their gums with regular flossing and brushing definitely do not see extensive care with the Dentist as much as those who don’t. When a dentist pushes regular hygiene visits they are trying to save you money in the long run. True story.

3. Low Patient Turn-Over Rate

This one’s a no brainer. A dental office with a high patient turn-over rate is not able to keep all of its patients happy so they go somewhere else. Of all the new patients that come in to the office every month very few actually return.

A good way to judge this is to see how busy the office is and the overall tone of the office. A shady office is so busy that patients are waiting a half hour or more before they are seen. The patients in the waiting room seem antsy, angry, or unsure and may not be responding well the front-desk staff.  And speaking of front desk staff Рif they are rude let your dentist know. Dental work is expensive and the last thing you should have to worry about is a receptionist with a chip on their shoulder.

4. Dentist Believes That The Best Dentistry is No Dentistry

Seems counter-productive doesn’t it? But it’s not. This means that as a dentist they are providing you only the care that you need. Think about it. A dentist’s #1 priority should be you and your oral care, not money. All elective procedures should be presented as such: implants, braces, and smile makeovers included.

5. Raise the Bar on Level of Care

Let’s face it, if you leave decisions like whether or not to floss up to regular people they are going to decide not to floss! We hear it every day when a patient refuses x-rays because they “don’t need x-rays”. When the reality of it is that people don’t know what is going on in their mouth. So a dentist who raises the level of care for their patients is an educator. They explain, successfully, the need to not only floss regularly but to come in for that six-month cleaning. To not only take the x-rays but to allow the patient to understand that those x-rays are an integral part of the doctor’s knowledge of their mouth.