Do:

  • Explain the good things about brushing his/her teeth. You should also explain what can happen if your son/daughter does not brush his/her teeth
  • Understand that your son/daughter might not be open to the idea of brushing his/her teeth on his/her own. But, your son/daughter will most likely listen if you encourage him/her to do so.
  • This way, you can model good brushing habits. Your son/daughter can also follow your steps.
  • Break down each step into 1 simple sentence. This makes each step easier to remember.
  • Watch your son/daughter brush his/her teeth 2 times a day for at least 1 month. This can help you make sure he/she is brushing properly an regularly.
  • Use a timer or sing a song for 2 minutes. This helps your son/daughter learn how long he/she should brush his/her teeth. If your son/daughter likes electric toothbrushes, find one with a timer.
  • Find a toothbrush and toothpaste that your son/daughter likes. Let him/her pick the color of the toothbrush and flavor of the toothpaste. Start with regular toothbrushes. Then, you can try electric toothbrushes if you can.
  • If your son/daughter doesn’t like how the toothbrush feels in his/her mouth, start off slowly. Have your son/daughter practice touching the toothbrush to his/her lips or front teeth. Over time, he/she will get used to the toothbrush.
  • When your son/daughter has learned how to brush, then you can talk about flossing. If he/she doesn’t like regular floss, try a floss pick or a water flosser.

Don't:

  • Don’t use negative language. You can say something like “All done, please turn off the water.” Don’t say something like, “Stop wasting water. Turn off the faucet.”

 Rev: 12/2016
Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children do not endorse any of the brands listed on this webpage. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.

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